The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and Workboat Association have been selected by UK Government to develop a technology roadmap, outlining a route to the decarbonisation of operation and maintenance vessels
The roadmap will consider key areas such as vessels, ports, and alternative fuels. The Department for Transport and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office are funding the research and an accompanying industry engagement programme – both in the UK and Europe – ahead of the UK Government hosting COP26 in November 2021.
As first highlighted by OWJ in May 2020, the Department for Transport has been planning to use COP26 to launch an initiative to reduce emissions from crew transfer vessels. As part of its Clean Maritime Plan, the UK hopes to bring proposals to the COP26 climate talks.
As part of the engagement for the roadmap, ORE Catapult and the Workboat Association will undertake one-to-one interviews and focus groups with a wide range of stakeholders, including windfarm and port operators; vessel designers, operators and shipbuilders; electrical and alternative fuel producers, distribution and storage providers; maritime regulation, certification and market experts; as well as local, regional and national government departments and agencies.
The programme will inform the roadmap, due in Q2 2021. It will recommend a set of clear, evidence-based guidelines with an aim to inform industry, investors and policymakers on how to best decarbonise the sector.
Maritime Minister Robert Courts said, “Our maritime sector is vital to the success of the UK’s economy, but emissions create a global challenge, requiring an international solution.
“With more than £20M (US$27M) being invested into greener maritime, and an ambitious Clean Maritime Plan to cut carbon across the sector, the UK is turning the tide on reducing emissions. I look forward to seeing these projects propel new opportunities for innovation to help deliver a better, greener maritime sector.”
ORE Catapult director of operational performance Chris Hill said, “We are pleased to be delivering this important project in support of UK Government.
“The UK has a strong maritime heritage as well as thriving, innovative maritime and clean-tech industries. We look forward to engaging with an extremely wide range of stakeholders in both the UK and Europe to help identify an evidence base for the technical, market and regulatory barriers to maritime decarbonisation.
“By helping to identify the right interventions and actions for government, industry and regulators, we hope that the rapid decarbonisation of the offshore wind industry’s maritime logistics will prove to be a springboard to broader maritime decarbonisation and the creation of a thriving clean maritime industry in the UK.”
Vattenfall O&M engineer and roadmap lead Hernan Vargas said, “As an operator of offshore windfarms, we are committed to enhancing the sustainability of the way that we operate these sites, including the vessel logistics needed to move our technicians, tools and parts to and from the windfarm.
“Decarbonising maritime logistics is a real focus for our business and we welcome the initiative from UK Government to help develop a better understanding of some of the technical, regulatory and market challenges involved.
“We are happy to support this work and help to inform the actions that can be taken together between government and the offshore wind and maritime industries to help accelerate a transition to clean maritime operations.”
Workboat Association chief executive Kerrie Forster said, “Our collaboration with ORE Catapult and the subsequent award of the roadmap development is an important step forward for us in our ambition to steer the industry on its journey in maritime decarbonisation ahead of net zero 2050.
“UK registered vessels make up the largest market share in this segment of the sector, so the outcomes of this project are fundamental to both our UK membership and external membership, with benefits directly affecting the wider international offshore wind and workboat sectors.”