Pursuing the energy transition through Covid-19

In the wake of Covid-19 and the lowest oil prices in over a decade, major companies are more interested than ever in pursuing sustainable energies.

Renewable energies have shown remarkable resilience in the face of dual industry crises. As oil and gas projects slowed, offshore wind continued apace, with major energy providers increasingly looking to sustainable solutions. Although Covid-19 has delayed certain renewable energy projects, the future is looking bright for offshore fixed and floating wind farms.

Renewed investment in wind farms

A wave of investments in offshore wind projects among major oil and gas companies is pushing the energy transition forward at a critical time. TOTAL recently entered into an agreement with SSE Renewables to acquire a 51% stake in the Seagreen 1 offshore wind farm on the Scottish coastline. Meanwhile, Shell has entered into a tender for CrossWind, a new joint venture with Dutch energy company Eneco that aims to build a 759-megawatt offshore wind farm.

The public sector is similarly leaning into renewable energies. Before Covid-19, investment in offshore wind was setting new records, with surges in spending from France, the UK, the US and China. Halfway through 2020, governments worldwide have drastically increased their public spending on infrastructure, with funding earmarked for renewable wind projects. Europe is a prime example of this, already set to spend more on offshore wind development than offshore oil and gas in 2022.   

A new commercial milestone

Floating wind farms are further reaching a new stage of development, with pilot projects transitioning into commercial offers. The cost of developing floating wind projects has always been high, given the lack of mass production and standardization of floating foundations. However, the offshore industry is reaching a technological tipping point, with new projects testing the development of floaters as part of a uniform series. This would create yet another advantage for floating wind projects, allowing companies to benefit from an economy of scale.

Meanwhile, Covid-19 has pushed certification and technology experts to innovate around the equipment certification process to avoid delays. While wind turbine design verification is primarily managed using remotely accessible technology, manufacturing and equipment inspection have remained in-person activities. To support manufacturers in integrating remote technologies into their processes, Bureau Veritas is providing remote inspection services for offshore wind projects. These techniques allow manufacturers greater flexibility while maintaining compliance with safety and regulatory standards.

Next steps for offshore wind

Despite the interruption of Covid-19, the energy transition is moving forward, bolstered by fixed and floating wind projects. To help owners and manufacturers stay on track, Bureau Veritas is further customizing its remote inspection offer to support both in-service wind farms and those under construction. We are further strengthening our expertise in technical due diligence, helping offshore actors assess the technologies that will advance renewable energy development for decades to come.