An offshore wind farm and a carbon capture project are at a stalemate

Ørsted’s huge Hornsea Four offshore wind project and a BP-led carbon capture project are at loggerheads because the two projects’ footprints are overlapping in the North Sea.

The Endurance carbon capture and storage project and Hornsea Four, both off the east coast of England, are clashing due to boats used to monitor carbon leaks being at risk of colliding with wind turbines.

The two projects share an area of around 110 square kilometers (42 square miles), and that’s known as … the Overlap Zone.

As a result of this standoff, the UK’s Planning Inspectorate is delaying Hornsea Four’s permitting decision until mid-July. (Hornsea 1 and Hornsea 2 are in operation, and Hornsea 3 is now approved for development.)

On one side, there’s the 2.6 gigawatt Hornsea Four, which would feature up to 180 wind turbines spread over up to 492 square kilometers (190 square miles).

On the other side, there’s the Endurance Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project, which aims to capture and store CO2 emissions from industrial processes in the UK’s Humber and Teesside regions. The CO2 would be captured from four different sites, including a refinery, a hydrogen production facility, and two power plants.

In 2013, both projects agreed to enter into an Interface Agreement so that they could coordinate and collaborate. But that hasn’t really worked. Offshorewind.biz explains what the beef is:

Ørsted said it proposed protective provisions for the benefit of the [Northern Endurance Partnership] project in its draft [development consent order] for Hornsea Four, which envisages co-existence in the Overlap Zone, while bp proposed protective provisions also for the benefit of its project, which would prevent the development of Hornsea Four infrastructure in the part of the Overlap Zone in which the carbon storage project would be located, referred to as the Exclusion Area.

Ørsted and bp have not managed to find common ground on the matter so far.

According to Reuters, “A spokesperson for Orsted said the group was ‘obviously disappointed,’ and would give the British authorities all information requested in the hope of a positive decision without further delays.”

Other companies invested in Endurance besides BP include Equinor, National Grid Ventures, and ENI. BP and its partners say they will make a final investment decision on Endurance in mid-2023.

Electrek’s Take

The British government views both offshore wind farms and carbon capture projects as vital weapons against fighting climate change, so chances are that it, and both companies, will figure out some sort of compromise.

Team Offshore Wind and Team Carbon Capture say “they are committed to finding a solution to allow both projects to go ahead,” according to Reuters. There’s simply too much at stake here for deadlock between these gigantic projects.

Read more: The world’s largest offshore wind farm is now fully operational

Photo: Ørsted

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