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Ocean report: Offshore wind can provide significant contribution to CO2 mitigation

Offshore wind energy has the largest CO2 mitigation potential of all ocean based renewable energy sources a new study from the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy finds

Offshore wind turbines
Offshore wind can reduce yearly Co2 emissions by 0.11 Gigatons by 2030 and 1.61 Gigatons by 2050 according tro a report from the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. The 2050 number is equivalent to 39% of the CO2 emissions made by the EU in 2018.
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Opphavsrett NORCOWE

The Ocean as a Solution for Climate Change: 5 Opportunities for Action, published 23 September, 2019 at the U.N. Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in New York, finds that the ocean economy and coastal regions could play a much bigger role in shrinking the world’s carbon footprint and limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C than previously realized.

One of the 5 opportunities outlined in the study is harnessing ocean-based renewable energy. The largest contribution herein comes from offshore wind energy.

“Offshore wind energy has the advantage that it is more technologically ready than for instance wave power. The technology is there, all we need is to scale up today’s technology and this will in turn reduce costs and stimulate further technology development” says Head of Bergen Offshore Wind Centre (BOW) and co-author of the report, Finn Gunnar Nielsen.

The report also came with a call to action signed by world leaders from 14 countries amongst them Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

Large potential for CO2 mitigation

The study finds that if today’s energy mix is replaced by offshore wind it can contribute to a reduction of 0.11 Gigatonnes of CO2 each year by 2030 and up to 1.61 Gigatonnes of CO2 each year by 2050. The 2050 number is equivalent to 39% of the emissions from the EU in 2018.

 “The High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy’s report has revealed that within the ocean-based renewable energy sub sector offshore wind energy is the one with the greatest contribution potential for climate change mitigation.” says Peter Haugan, professor at the Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen and Programme director at the Institute for Marine Research. Haugan is Co-chair of the HLP expert group.

Still a discussion on cost in Norway

Offshore wind has been widely discussed in Norway. Only within the last two weeks offshore wind has been a topic on conferences like Science Meets Industry Bergen, Havvindkonferansen in Oslo, The Ocean in Bergen and also at the High Profile Meeting on offshore wind in Bergen.

“I wish the discussion would turn from the cost per kWh to how much CO2 emissions we save”, says Finn Gunnar Nielsen.

He adds: “I hope this report will contribute to accelerate the process as both the industry and researchers are clear on that we need to start now if we want to ensure Norway’s position as a key player in the offshore wind industry”.

Source: Hoegh-Guldberg. O., et al. 2019. ‘‘The Ocean as a Solution to Climate Change: Five Opportunities for Action.’’ Report. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute. Available online at http://www.oceanpanel.org/climate