Should Energy Transition Efforts Be Focused on Supply or Demand?

20 June 2023

The answer (of course) is that progress is needed on both fronts, as well as on the infrastructure linking the two.

Nick Terry, our Head of WTG Substructures shares his thoughts.

There is no point building 50GW of offshore wind supply if we do not simultaneously transition to electricity-based energy usage. Electrification of transport and heating is needed, in order to capitalise on the increasing supply of green electricity.

On the other hand, we cannot afford to wait for demand-side change to lead the energy supply mix. One of the main arguments for ongoing fossil fuel exploration is that the industry is just responding to ongoing demand – this is a self-perpetuating argument. A managed reduction in fossil fuel supply (offset by the expansion of renewables) would incentivise transition on the demand-side, leading to a positive feedback loop and accelerating the energy transition. Ongoing delay and deflection by the O&G industry only acts as a brake on the progress we need here.

The third piece of the jigsaw is the infrastructure needed to connect supply to demand. Investment in the electricity grid to intelligently handle increased volumes of renewable power, development of smart energy storage (including two-way transfers from electric vehicles) to manage supply intermittency, expansion of interlinked energy networks with our European neighbours – all are needed to enable renewable energy to be efficiently and reliably available at the point of demand.

At SLPE, we support the expansion of renewable energy supply by designing cost-efficient foundation structures for offshore wind turbines and substations – an essential aspect of any offshore wind project, and an opportunity to reduce project costs and increase profitability of renewable generation. We are also supporting early-phase development of North Sea energy networks, including green hydrogen production for hard-to-decarbonise industries. Lastly, we manage our own operations to reduce our fossil fuel demand, for example with our EV-only company car policy and the ongoing management, reduction, and offsetting of our carbon footprint.

If you would like to find out how SLPE can support your next offshore renewables project, or if you are interested in working with us, please get in touch.