While the climate transition is inherent to the energy market, Europe is also committed to renewing its renewable energy fleet. Indeed, this booming sector is launching young companies in a race for innovation, especially with offshore wind power with hydrogen.
As the leader in the wind energy sector, Europe aims to increase its offshore wind energy production capacity twentyfold by 2050. This sector of activity will be very promising for the European economy. First, it will generate jobs, construction of factories and port infrastructure, such as the development of the port of Ostend in Belgium. Secondly, it will also allow young companies and start-ups to assert themselves in this market through the emergence of their innovations. “There is a strong demand for this,” says Yvon Timmerman, project manager and co-founder of Blue Power Synergy.
In 2020, 356 new offshore wind turbines spread across 9 farms were commissioned in European waters according to Wind Europe, the European wind energy association. The Netherlands is indeed the owner of more than half of the new European installations, ahead of Belgium, Great Britain and Germany.
In addition, in November of the same year, the European Commission presented a strategy for offshore renewable energy in which it set the objective of increasing the offshore wind power in the EU to 60 GW in 2030 and 300 GW in 2050. For this, the European Commission will consider a total disbursement of nearly 800 billion euros by 2050. Thanks to this investment, offshore wind energy would represent 2% of the electricity consumed in Europe.
Within the framework of the application of the “zero carbon target”, the decarbonization of territories remains a key issue. Thus, thanks to its key role in the storage of electricity energy, hydrogen can be produced by linking wind turbines to electrolysers that will split water. This type of wind turbine will provide a competitive solution to green hydrogen in industry and will have a certain autonomy that will guarantee off-grid operation. This is what Christian Bruch, CEO of Siemens Energy, quotes: “This will open up more and better wind sites. Powerful, these wind turbines will be able to mix 39.000 cubic meters of air for a diameter of 222 meters. To date, despite the high cost of 120 million euros of this project which will be born in 2025, this sector will be particularly profitable.
The British company Cerulean Winbds, which specializes in green energy, has announced a project to build 200 offshore wind turbines in the North Sea by 2024. This wind farm will be used to supply the British electricity network and to produce green hydrogen for use in the UK, or even for export.
It is estimated that this will create an additional 200,000 jobs over a five-year period.
In addition to these hydrogen wind turbines, a new concept is emerging: floating offshore hydrogen wind turbines. This innovative product, called NerehydTM, was created in partnership with the start-ups Lhyfe and Doris, shortly after the first green hydrogen wind turbines. It combines Lhyfe’s know-how in renewable hydrogen production and Doris’ floating wind turbine solution called Nerewind.
In accordance with the law on energy transition for green growth enacted in 2015, France has set a goal of reaching 32% of renewable energy in France’s total energy consumption by 2030. To date, the French fleet is the fifth largest in Europe with a capacity of 16.5 GW in 2019.
With a total of 22,600 jobs in France, wind energy is the leading employer in the renewable energy sector. Many French multinationals are involved in this industry:
– Total and Engie signed a cooperation agreement in January 2021 to design, develop, build and operate France’s largest renewable hydrogen production site of the Masshylia project in the South Provence Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. The two companies are aiming to start construction of the facilities in 2022, once the advanced engineering study has been completed, with a view to production in 2024
– Siemens Gamesa and Siemens Energy will in turn invest 120 million euros over five years in the development of an integrated solution for the production of green hydrogen at sea, at the foot of wind turbines.
– The same is true for oil giant Shell, which wants to expand its field of action in offshore hydrogen wind power.
Finally, France also has the world’s largest wind turbine factory: the Cherbourg factory. It produces the largest wind turbine blades in the world, at 107 meters long. The company currently employs about 600 people in Cherbourg and is recruiting 200 more.
This industrial sector is very promising. Both in terms of innovation and investment, there are many players who can take part and prosper. If you are also interested in joining this sector and would like to receive advice, please contact us.