The World Energy Council and all specialised bodies estimate that global energy consumption will likely increase by 40% by 2035 and double by 2050, in particular due to demographic development and industrialisation.
Renewable marine energies, solutions for tomorrow
Today, fossil fuels (coal, gas, oil) still account for more than 80% of total energy production worldwide. However, these energy reserves are not infinite: at the present rate of consumption, oil is expected to run out in about 50 years, gas in 60 years and coal in about one hundred years. Moreover, the use of these fossil fuels is accelerating the global warming phenomenon, due in particular to greenhouse gas emissions.
The supply of energy, essential for economic growth and preserving the environment, is a major concern for states, which are now choosing to invest in energy production infrastructures that concurrently satisfy growing energy demand, reduce CO2 emissions and meet the expectations of populations in terms of safety, security and environmental protection. These investments must be made at the right time and in the right place to maintain a sufficient supply of renewable energies and thus fulfil the objectives set.
In this context, marine renewable energies help to improve the carbon footprint of certain installations, and constitute new energy sources that are both renewable and environmentally friendly.
The energy resource offered by the sea is considerable. With 70% of the earth’s surface covered by oceans and two thirds of the world’s population living less than 150 km from the coast, the sea represents an inexhaustible source of renewable energy that can satisfy the growing needs of the world’s population while ensuring a carbon-free footprint.
In France, Europe and worldwide, initiatives that promote the development of marine renewable energies, in particular wind energy at sea, are on the increase.
Accordingly, in France, Naval Energies is preparing to respond to future calls for tenders as part of the Multi-annual Energy Plan (MEP) published in 2020.
The following calls for tender are scheduled: 250 MW in Brittany in 2021, 250 MW in the Mediterranean in 2022, then between 250 and 500 MW in 2024. As of 2025, the pace will be one tender per year, for approximately 500 MW.
Meanwhile, at the end of 2020, the European Union published its marine renewable energy strategy which notably provides for 60 GW of offshore wind in 2030, then 300 GW in 2050, to which floating wind turbines will contribute up to one third, i.e. 100 GW.
Elsewhere in the world, Naval Energies is working with Hitachi Zosen Corporation – a leading renewable energies developer and industrialist in Japan – on a joint project for floating wind turbines. In Scotland, Naval Energies has joined the DeepWind offshore wind cluster, offering its floating wind turbine expertise as part of the Scotwind Leasing calls for tender recently announced by the Scottish Government. In the US, in June 2020 Naval Energies joined Offshore Wind California, an international association of offshore wind turbine developers and technology companies focused on the California market.
With a technically exploitable potential (TEP) of 3,500 GW worldwide, floating wind turbines represent the largest source of marine renewable energy for the future, far greater than fixed-foundation offshore wind turbines.
With regard to ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), Naval Energies is one of the signatories of the “industrial territories” protocol relating to the Bois Rouge eco-technoport on Réunion Island. This project represents a major advance for OTEC projects.