How ready are MREs to assist global decarbonization?

How ready are MREs to assist global decarbonization?

Mar. 28 2023 - 4 min

What’s the state of play for MREs?

One MRE technology currently has the lead over all others: offshore wind. Though not yet at the same scale and maturity as fixed installations, floating offshore wind(FOW) is showing particular promise. Now able to generate between 10 and 15 megawatts (MW) per turbine, the current generation of FOW turbines delivers substantial power generation returns on production costs. FOW’s other major advantage is, simply, that it floats. This means that installations can be moored in ever-greater depths, expanding potentially exploitable regions.

Beyond wind power, several other technologies are maturing. Tidal array projects have been announced in Canada, Norway and the Republic of Korea. Elsewhere, floating solar farms are also being developed to meet future renewable energy demands. Overall, the MRE outlook looks bright. But, with 12% annual growth in renewable energy production needed up until 2030 to reach net-zero targets,[1] challenges yet remain.

Solving the cost conundrum

Each MRE technology has its own unique challenges, but the one they all have in common is cost. From modestly sized installations to multi-gigawatt mega-projects, the cost of materials, equipment, installation, operation and maintenance can be prohibitive.

While both private and public sector financing continue – particularly in wind and solar development – lowering costs is imperative to increase renewables as a main source of energy.

Certification bridging regulatory gaps

Currently, many MRE projects must navigate various national and regional regulations to acquire their necessary permits. Where these variations may cause uncertainty, Bureau Veritas provides clarity and stability, with specific guidelines for project certification or classification.

Our Rules and guidelines for MRE include NI 631 for the certification of MRE technologies, and NI 572 for the classification and certification of FOW turbines. We have also developed a specific modeling tool, OPERA, to bring our clients peace of mind regarding the structural integrity of their design.

Our experts are supporting FOW projects of varying scales, from the 3 x 8.4 MW Provence Grand Large installation in France, to the Republic of Korea’s 500 MW Gray Whale 3 from Bada Energy. With our guidance and experience, we are also helping less established technologies gain a foothold. In January, we awarded an Approval in Principle (AiP) to Oceans of Energy’s offshore floating solar farm system. The first solar panel system proven in high-sea conditions, it benefits from the AiP’s recognition as a leading technology with a promising future.

What lies ahead?

So, what’s next for MRE? These methods of renewable energy production are needed at scale, now more than ever. Though issues of funding – particularly from the public sector – must be resolved, project owners can be assured that the demand for renewable energy is not set to decrease.

As the global economy decarbonizes, a wide variety of renewable sources will be needed. We are by our client’s side to make sure they are ready to meet those rising demands.