‘Traffic lights’ are needed for offshore wind and carbon capture projects to operate safely

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Offshore wind power plants could operate alongside carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in the North Sea, according to a new study by the Dutch government, provided close monitoring of the sites below the seabed used for the seismic activity.

The study, carried out by geodata specialist Fugro for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, concluded that “offshore wind farms and CCS [operations] can co-exist,” but made four key recommendations “to keep future projects safe.”

These included: the development of a 3D characterization model for geological sites where CCS operations would take place “to determine the likelihood of an earthquake occurring directly beneath a wind farm”; CO monitoring2 liquid injection to monitor pressure levels in underwater structures; installation of a sensor system to record seismic activity at a site; and the use of a “traffic light system” to manage risk during operations.

“Through our teams’ analysis, we’ve been able to share valuable insights that ensure new energy economy assets are operating safely, sustainably and efficiently,” said James Faroppa, director of marine geoconsulting at Fugro on Europe-Africa.

“This study demonstrates our continued support for the energy transition, and we will continue to work closely with our customers and partners to accelerate projects and develop programs that further improve energy security, environmental sustainability and safety for all.

The results of this study will be used to inform regulatory decisions and guide future “overlapping” CCS and offshore wind developments, Faroppa said.

The Dutch currently have two flagship CCS projects, dubbed Porthos and Aramis, as well as plans to have more than 20 GW of electricity produced by offshore wind farms by 2030.

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