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Category Archives: Offshore

Japan tax evasion hunt extends to nearly 2m offshore accounts – Nikkei Asian Review

Posted: December 13, 2019 at 3:17 pm

TOKYO -- Japan has learned of close to 2 million overseas accounts as it broadens its search for tax evaders to smaller balances.

Data on more than 1.89 million accounts held by Japanese individuals and businesses in 85 countries and regions has been obtained for 2019, the National Tax Agency said Friday.

When the agency began sharing information with counterparts under the Common Reporting Standard in 2018, it sought to uncover accounts with balances exceeding 100 million yen ($915,000). Information on about 740,000 offshore accounts had been received by June 2019.

This time, the agency also targeted accounts of 100 million yen or less.

Asia and Oceania accounted for nearly 80%, or more than 1.46 million, of the accounts reported under the 2019 information exchange from July to November.

Tax havensparticipated in the effort.

In return, Japan provided information on roughly 470,000 accounts to 64 countries and regions.

Information supplied through the program includes the account holder's name and address, as well as the balance. In a case handled by a National Tax Agency regional bureau in the northern city of Sapporo, an asset management company representative was ordered to pay back taxes on unreported overseas assets.

"If the CRS program helps amass information, authorities may be able to track down asset transfers between offshore accounts, and this will serve as an even more powerful tool," said a tax accountant who previously worked at the agency.

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US offshore wind project hits back at bird groups over lawsuit – Recharge

Posted: at 3:17 pm

Bird conservationists filed a lawsuit in a federal court challenging the Icebreaker offshore wind farm in Lake Erie, Ohio a move branded by the project's developer as unwarranted and against wider environmental interests.

Two groups claimed the Icebreaker demonstration project which is set to deploy six turbines to create Americas first freshwater offshore wind farm threatens multiple species of birds in the area.

The action is against the US Department of Energy and US Army Corps of Engineers for alleged failure to properly consider bird impacts in environmental assessments of the project.

LEEDCo, a non-profit, public-private partnership based there, is co-developing Icebreaker Wind with Norwegian equity investor Fred Olsen Renewables.

Mike Parr of the American Bird Conservancy claimed: American tax dollars are paying for more than a third of the project cost but a Norwegian corporation is in partnership with the nonprofit project implementer, LEEDCo.

Why are US taxpayer dollars supporting this in the first place? Migratory birds are a common good of the American people.

The campaigners claims Icebreaker could be precedent-setting for large-scale offshore wind development in the Great Lakes.

Icebreaker plans to use MHI Vestas 3.45MW turbines, specially adapted offshore versions of Vestas V126-3.45 onshore machines. It is targeting start of construction in 2021 and operation in 2022.

LEEDCo president David Karpinski said in a statement sent to Recharge that detailed surveys in consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) demonstrated very low bird activity within the project area.

Based on that data, the USFWS ultimately concluded that the project poses 'limited direct risk to migratory birds and dropped its initial recommendation that an Environmental Impact Statement be prepared, said Karpinski.

We believe the US Department of Energy and US Army Corps of Engineers have fully and faithfully carried out their obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act to evaluate the impact of the project on all aspects of the environment.

Karpinski added that further review is not warranted and would not add to the analysis beyond additional expense and delay.

The clean energy that these turbines will generate is an important step toward reducing emissions and pollution, and combating climate change, which will provide great benefits to birds and other wildlife as well as all Ohioans.

That is why Icebreaker is supported by the most respected environmental organisations, including the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Ohio Environmental Council.

Legal action over potential bird impacts has faced a number of major offshore wind projects around the world in the industrys short history.

Lengthy legal action by the RSPB in Scotland caused several years of delays to projects there, and bird conservationists in Germany have also turned up the legal heat on offshore wind developers.

Orsteds 2.4GW Hornsea 3 off eastern England in September saw a consent decision delayed for six months after bird charities raised last minute fears over its impact.

Note: Update adds reaction from Icebreaker

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Offshore wind waits for Johnson to deliver after UK election triumph – Recharge

Posted: at 3:17 pm

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson name-checked decarbonisation as he celebrated a decisive general election victory that leaves the offshore wind industry hoping he will keep his promises, makes Brexit a certainty, and raises questions over the future in the UK of Scotland and its massive renewable resources.

Johnson flagged a desire to make the UK the cleanest, greenest nation after his Conservatives crushed the Labour opposition, which ran on a broadly hard-left ticket, to remain in power and secure his partys largest majority in the House of Commons since Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

The Conservative election campaign contained few concrete pledges on green issues, preferring to lean on the 2050 net-zero carbon goal already put in place by Johnsons predecessor Theresa May when challenged over its climate ambitions.

The big exception was offshore wind, where the Conservatives made specific mention of boosting to 40GW a 2030 goal that currently stands at 30GW, along with a pledge to back floating wind technology. As in so many other areas of policy, the sector will now await the detail behind the number, but the fact that both major parties backed an increase leaves the UKs world-leading offshore wind sector well placed to play a central role in national industrial policy.

The same cannot be said of other renewable technologies. The Conservatives have excluded both onshore wind and solar from the contract-for-difference (CfD) support mechanism, with no immediate signs of a rethink on that.

With Brexit set to in Johnsons words get done by the end of January at least as far as a withdrawal agreement is concerned the offshore wind sector should at least see an easing of the rolling deadlines that caused stockpiling against a no deal Brexit this year.

However, longer-term the uncertainty remains over the detailed future relationship between the UK and EUs energy markets. And while Johnson triumphed in England and Wales, the Scottish National Party (SNP) swept the board in Scotland, strengthening its calls for another referendum on independence for the devolved nation, the biggest source of UK onshore wind power and a growing force offshore.

Early reaction to Johnsons win stressed the need for urgent policy action to push the UK towards net-zero.

Hugh McNeal, CEO of wind-focused industry group RenewableUK, said: We look forward to working with the new government to grow the UKs renewable energy sector and deliver on the commitments to 40GW of offshore wind by 2030 and developing floating wind projects.

The voters have sent a clear signal that climate action must be a top priority, and the eyes of the world will be on the UK as we host the UN global climate summit, so this Government must take urgent action to get the country on track for net zero.

Power sector umbrella group Energy UK's policy director Audrey Gallacher added: While Brexit will continue to dominate the political agenda, and there will be important issues to now focus on as we look to the future relationship with Europe, we must also quickly break the hiatus in energy policy.

Nick Molho, executive director of the Aldersgate Group think-tank said: The governments policy decisions in this parliamentary term will be absolutely critical. They will determine whether the UK is genuinely on track for achieving its net zero target and reversing the decline of the natural environment within a generation.

They will also determine whether UK businesses can become amongst the most competitive providers of low carbon goods and services globally.

The UK Renewable Energy Association said: The climate emergency is the biggest challenge that we face and this is the pivotal moment. The new government must now implement credible policy to decarbonise the economy in line with our net-zero targets.

To achieve this, the new government must be more ambitious and commit to wholesale systems change across energy, in particular for transport and waste, required to unleash the full potential of renewable energy and clean technology.

Note: Update adds comments

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Expressions of interest sought for mixed two-handed offshore keelboat for Paris 2024 – The Irish Times

Posted: at 3:17 pm

Ireland aims to expand the Olympic classes in which it competes when Irish Sailing seek expressions of interest on Friday, December 13th, in the new mixed two-handed offshore keelboat for Paris 2024.

The new Olympic class has already prompted declarations from Irish sailors with significant offshore experience.

This week Irish Sailing confirmed entry into the 2020 Offshore World Championships to be held in association with the Middle Sea Race in October 2020. Such a move is regarded as the opening of a 2024 Olympic offshore campaign, and is predicated by the payment of a 2,500 entry fee to World Sailing.

Offshore interest in Ireland stems from several top results achieved on the international stage by Irish solo sailors such as David Kenefick, Tom Dolan and Joan Mulloy.

In June 2019, a declaration was made by Ostar transatlantic winner Conor Fogerty of Howth Yacht Club, who has partnered with Susan Glenny, for a 2024 bid.

Nations will have to qualify for the limited fleet event. 20 L30 yachts will be supplied to competitors, but the organisers have not yet determined the event(s) that will qualify for the championships.

Holding qualifications in chartered boats already available on a regional basis is one idea to cut the cost of campaigning the keelboat that has been guesstimated at 350,000 for a four-year campaign.

The mixed two-handed offshore race will be of approximately four days duration, the same as that proposed for the 2024 Olympic Regatta.

The keelboat will join kiteboarding, windsurfing, multihulls, singlehanded and doublehanded dinghies and skiffs, promoting the diversity of the sport in Paris.

Yet before embarking on any new challenge for 2024, last weeks 49er World Championships in New Zealand revealed Ireland has still much work to do for 2020 if it wants to qualify more than one boat for Tokyo.

As it stands Ireland is on the Tokyo startline in the womens Laser Radial class, a position that will be the subject of a four-way trial in spring 2020. Yet despite lengthy campaigns, Ireland is still looking for places in both the mens Laser and skiff class, and is now in the last-chance saloon as Olympic fleets are finalised.

The notoriously fickle Italian venue of Genoa will provide the backdrop for the last European place available at the 2020 World Cup next Easter in the 49er skiff.

Irelands double Olympian Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle and Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove are both contesting the place, where Belgium and Italy appear to be the principal rivals for the slot based on results at this months Worlds in Auckland.

The last two Laser places will also be up for grabs on the Mediterranean Sea, and three Irish trialists hoping for last-minute success are Rio representative Finn Lynch of Dn Laoghaire, Ewan McMahon of Howth and Liam Glynn from Bangor.

Meanwhile, Howth Yacht Club sailors entered in the Stephens Day Sydney Hobart Race got more than they bargained for when they arrived into Sydney Harbour this week. Race officials are anticipating a worst-case scenario as bushfires threaten to cause the postponement of the bluewater classic.

A Howth Yacht Club team skippered by Darren Wright will compete on the First 40 Breakthrough.

Other Howth sailors racing this Christmas include Shane Diviney on Chinese Whisper and the Australia-based Gordon Maguire on Ichi Ban, both serious contenders for the overall Tattersalls Cup.

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LR: UK Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 to Be Highly Competitive – Offshore WIND

Posted: at 3:17 pm

The Crown Estates Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 will be highly competitive, with multiple developers vying to take a slice of a 7GW opportunity, according to Tristan Chapman, Senior Vice President of Renewables and Innovation from Lloyds Register.

As previously reported, the Crown Estate opened the leasing Round 4 in October, offering seabed rights for new projects in the waters around England and Wales

According to Chapman, Round 4 and the forthcoming Scottish roundare a golden opportunity for the UK to cement its position as the global leader in offshore wind.

The sector has demonstrated its ability to innovate and drive down costs, and with regular Contracts for Difference (CfD) rounds on the horizon, there is a clear route to yet more volume and cost reduction.

However, the Round 4 leasing areas bring new challenges, and the need for developers to consider carefully their site assessment and project design, according to Chapman.

In what is becoming an increasingly congested marine environment, new schemes may need to co-exist with current and future oil and gas infrastructure. The competitive nature of the tendering process means winning bidders will need to provide best-in-class wind resource evaluation, onshore grid connectivity optioneering, ground risk management, constraints evaluation, metocean analysis, and cable route engineering.

Add in the desire from the Crown Estate (and possibly BEIS) to incentivise further innovation including floating projects and it is clear a comprehensive approach to developing a commercially competitive bid will be key, Chapman said.

A bidders site selection will need to take into account a range of factors including finding the most favourable ground conditions for foundation installation and capacity; considering constraints such as marine protected areas, visual impact, and fishing operations; oil and gas and subsea hazards that can range from unexploded ordinances (UXO) to existing infrastructure, such as pipelines and cables.

Whilst much of this information is already in the public domain it is vital that bidders assemble a team that can bring together experience in the marine environment as well as experience in wind.

Onshore grid connection availability and options will also be key. All entrants in the round will need to think about not only the most economic routes, but also the installation methodologies required, and the cables post-lay longevity which can have a major impact on project viability and ultimate return.

Given this complexity, LR believes that multi-disciplinary teams are the best way to assess and analyse these multiple and inter-related inputs. Access to data and clear decision making is critical, and the ability to share data between all decision-makers is key, Chapman said.

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More SGX FX futures traded in Nov amid surge in offshore yuan contracts – The Business Times

Posted: at 3:17 pm

Fri, Dec 13, 2019 - 11:36 AM

DESPITE subdued global currency markets, trading activity in foreign exchange (FX) futures on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) grew to US$110 billion in November, up 12.5 per cent month on month and 9 per cent year on year.

Nearly 1.88 million FX contracts changed hands on the Singapore bourse last month, bringing the year-to-date (YTD) volume to 21.5 million contracts worth some US$1.2 trillion, SGX said on Friday.

Global financial markets have been relatively less volatile for most of this year with no sustained volatility hotpots, except for the British pound, the bourse operator noted.

Key globaleconomic themes also remained unchanged in the past few months, with the US-China trade war still dominating headlines.In the UK, Brexit woes still weighed on sentiment, and volatility in the poundhas returned asthe elections approach.

In Chinese markets, the US-China trade negotiations continued to drive activity in November, after a quiet October from the extended public holidays.

Well be curating stories from management guru John Bittleston and making them free to read.

Early last month, reports of a phased rollback in tariffs as part of the phase-one trade deal drove up volumes in USD/CNH (US dollar and offshore Chinese yuan) futures on SGX. In anticipation of the deal, the yuan fell below 7 against the US dollar, although this was not sustained due to concerns that discussions may be premature, SGX said.

Overall, the yuan gained 0.3 per cent against the US dollar in November despite lingering concerns on the outcome of the trade war.

AboutUS$79.6 billion in USD/CNH futures on SGX were traded last month, climbing 38 per cent year on year.The average daily volume rose to US$3.79 billion in November, from US$3.02 billion a month ago.

YTD volumes of SGX USD/CNH futures exceeded US$828 billion - more thandouble the US$534 billion recorded for the whole of 2018, the bourse operator said on Friday.

Open interest for SGX USD/CNH futures at the end of November was US$5.8 billion or 57,857 contracts, representing close to 70 per cent of the open interest across all exchanges with similar offerings, SGX noted.

On the other hand, in India, the rupee weakened about 1.3 per cent in November, despite strong inflows into Indian equities from foreign portfolio investors.

Rupee markets saw low volatility and weak trading momentum, resulting in trading volume for SGX INR/USD (Indian rupee and US dollar) futures totalling just above US$29 billion from 1.04 million contracts last month.

The average daily volume in November for SGX INR/USD futures was US$1.46 billion.

Key indicators in India continue to point to a lacklustre economy, SGX noted. Industrial production fell 4.3 per cent in September, the lowest in almost eight years and lower than the estimated drop of 2.5 per cent.

"The weakening economy poses further downside risks to growth and the budget deficit. At a fiscal deficit of over 7 trillion rupees (S$130 billion), India has already surpassed its annual deficit target in the first seven months of the fiscal year," SGX said.

Moody's also cut India's rating outlook from stable to negative in November, citing a host of issues from a worsening shadow banking crunch, and a prolonged slowdown in the economy to rising public debt.

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New Task Force Will Consider Leases For Offshore Wind Energy Developers In The Gulf Of Maine – Maine Public

Posted: December 12, 2019 at 3:44 pm

New Task Force Will Consider Leases For Offshore Wind Energy Developers In The Gulf Of Maine

A new task force will convene for the first time Thursday to consider how and where to lease potentially vast swathes of the Gulf of Maine to offshore wind-energy developers. The outcome could have big consequences for Maine's fishing industry, and for the state's role in the next wave of renewable energy development.

An earlier round of auctions awarded leases in federal waters off southern New England, where several large-scale wind projects should soon start churning out thousands of megawatts of electricity a big down payment on state commitments to ramp up the use of renewable energy.

Now, at New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu's request, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is starting a new process to designate the best areas for offshore wind projects farther north in the Gulf of Maine. Analysts say investments could be worth billions of dollars, with thousands of jobs in the offing.

"This is a really significant opportunity for our energy future and economy," says Dan Burgess.

Burgess directs Maine Gov. Janet Mills' energy office, and he is leading the state's delegation to the intergovernmental task force that will advise the Bureau Of Ocean Energy Management. The panel also includes representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, tribal governments and the feds.

One challenge for Maine, Burgess says, will be to pursue offshore wind opportunities without harming fishing or shipping industries and the Gulf's ecosystems.

"Any development really does have to consider existing commercial maritime interests and habitat as well. And we really do want to bring that full lens to this process."

Burgess says some major wind developers are showing interest in Maine. That would mark a change from the sector's recent doldrums in the state.

Jeremy Payne, the executive director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association, says former Gov. Paul LePage stalled ocean wind development off Maine when he intervened in an offshore energy bid that had been won by a Norwegian company called Statoil which prompted the company to withdraw from the state altogether.

"Reputationally, the state really suffered, particularly in the last couple of years of the LePage Administration when there was so much uncertainty created by the Governor's constant public criticism, says Payne. So companies that were interested in Maine either started looking elsewhere or, at a minimum, put their early development projects on the back burner."

But Mills and the Legislature got things back under way again this year, directing utility regulators to finalize a contract for electricity from a pilot project for a floating turbine system led by the University of Maine, called Aqua-Ventus, to be located in state waters off Monhegan Island.

It's an important first effort, Payne says. He notes that the continental shelf extends far offshore of southern New England, allowing for the installation of well-developed fixed-platform wind technologies in those relatively shallow waters. But off Maine, the shelf drops off closer to shore, which would force the use of more experimental floating platforms.

But if the feds open up new lease areas, and Maine lawmakers authorize new long-term contracts, Payne says, the market is likely to follow.

"And perhaps a year or so from now we'll see another procurement, and that really will get the industry's attention and say 'you need to look at Maine.'"

But that worries some in the state's fishing industries. Ben Martens is the executive director of the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association.

"I think this could be much bigger than whales when it comes to the impacts it could have on our fishing industry in the Gulf of Maine," he says.

Martens says offshore wind development could rival pending federal action to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales that, right now, has the lobster industry up in arms.

He says fishermen are concerned about conflict with the multiple anchors and cables needed for floating platforms. And in the Monhegan area, he adds, fishermen feel burned by their experience with Aqua Ventus.

"They've really bungled the rollout of that project, to the extent where fishermen just don't trust them anymore because they keep on changing, they keep updating, the story is different every time they talk to the fishing communities, says Martens. And so there's a lot of fear right now around offshore wind that didn't exist before that project started."

Aqua Ventus officials could not be reached for comment.

State Energy Director Dan Burgess notes that there will be representatives of the Maine's Department of Marine Resources on the offshore wind task force. And fishing industry representatives will participate in Bureau Of Ocean Energy Management processes as well.

The agency's guidelines call for lease areas to be identified within two years, and for leases to be auctioned within four.

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Denmark plans $30 billion offshore wind island that could power 10 million homes – Reuters

Posted: at 3:44 pm

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark is moving forward with plans to build an artificial island tying in power from offshore wind farms of up to 10 gigawatts (GW) of capacity, more than enough to supply all households, as part of efforts to meet ambitious climate change targets.

Denmark is home to wind turbine giant Vestas and the worlds largest developer of offshore wind,, and recently approved a law which targets reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2030.

The energy ministry is looking for the right location to build one or more islands surrounded by offshore wind farms with a total capacity of at least 10 GW - equivalent to 10 million European households electricity consumption.

Denmark covered 41% of its electricity demand from wind energy in 2018, the highest level in Europe.

The project is crucial to meet Denmarks legally binding climate act, one of the worlds most ambitious, which was passed by a broad majority in parliament on Friday.

But the plans could cost as much as 200-300 billion Danish crowns ($29.5-44.2 billion), the vast majority of which will be financed by private investors, according to the ministry.

Denmark, which has a population of around 6 million, has set aside 65 million crowns to research how the energy coming into the hub can be stored or converted into renewable hydrogen as all the power generated will not just be used by domestic customers.

It hopes that new technology will make it possible to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy in sectors such as transport and industry.

If we really are to realize the enormous potential of offshore wind we must develop technologies of the future to convert the green power into fuel for aircraft, ships and industry, said climate and energy minister Dan Jorgensen on Tuesday.

Hydrogen produces water when it burns rather than the greenhouse gas CO2, offering a clean fuel if it is produced from renewable sources such as wind or solar energy, rather than from oil and gas, the source for much of the hydrogen produced now.

Interest in renewable hydrogen is growing as heavy industry, aviation and shipping look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

Energy firm Orsted has said it aims to invest in pilot projects that will use wind power and other renewable energy sources to make hydrogen fuel.

Reporting by Stine Jacobsen, editing by Louise Heavens

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Offshore Wind May Help The Planet But Will It Hurt Whales? – NPR

Posted: at 3:44 pm

A humpback whale feeds on a school of fish off Long Island, New York. Migrating whales have increased dramatically in this region in recent decades but they're also facing human challenges. David 'Dee' Delgado/WCS/Ocean Giants/Image taken under NMFS MMPA/ESA Permit no. 18786-04 hide caption

A humpback whale feeds on a school of fish off Long Island, New York. Migrating whales have increased dramatically in this region in recent decades but they're also facing human challenges.

"Tail! Tail!" shouts Dr. Howard Rosenbaum, a marine biologist, before grabbing his crossbow, as we close in on a humpback whale.

Rosenbaum gets into position on the bow of the boat, stands firmly with legs apart, takes aim, and fires at the 40-foot cetacean. The arrow that he releases doesn't have a point it has a hollow 2-inch tip to collect skin and blubber, and a cork-like stopper to prevent it from penetrating too deeply.

"Oh, yeah!" come shouts from the small research crew. The hit looks clean. Sure enough, when they scoop the floating arrow out of the water, its tip is filled with a small white sliver of whale flesh, containing DNA that will help identify the humpback and its pod and potentially say something about its migratory patterns.

This is the sort of research that Rosenbaum, the director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's "Ocean Giants" program, has been doing for decades around the globe. Recently, though, whale monitoring has taken on a new urgency in Rosenbaum's own native habitat the Atlantic waters off New York City and Long Island.

A pointless arrow tip, shot by crossbow into a humpback whale, captures skin and blubber for DNA testing. David 'Dee' Delgado/WCS/Ocean Giants/Image taken under NMFS MMPA/ESA Permit no. 18786-04 hide caption

A pointless arrow tip, shot by crossbow into a humpback whale, captures skin and blubber for DNA testing.

As whale populations have grown, the WCS and its collaborator, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, have been monitoring them, with an eye toward mediating conflicts with the ocean's heaviest users: cargo ships, commercial fishing trawlers and the U.S. military.

Now, the whales are poised to get many new, potentially disruptive neighbors: hundreds of skyscraper-high wind turbines, rising from the ocean floor.

The New York Energy Research and Development Authority has awarded two large contracts for offshore wind and anticipates several more in the coming years. The first phase, expected to be complete by 2024, involves dozens of wind turbines in two different offshore plots, leased by energy companies from the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. They would generate 1700 megawatts enough to power more than one million homes.

These would be the largest offshore wind farms in North America and among the largest in the world. Subsequent phases are slated to build hundreds of turbines to generate 9,000 megawatts by 2035.

Rosenbaum's mission is to share information about the whales, in particular their feeding and migratory patterns, with regulators and the energy developer, a Norwegian multinational corporation called Equinor, and together craft strategies to mitigate damage to the whales' habitat.

"Everyone is interested in the benefits of renewable energy and what that does for our climate and for society," Rosenbaum says, as the boat motors to Equinor's lease area, an 80,000-acre triangle 20 miles south of Queens and Nassau County. "We also want to protect the wildlife and these habitats.'

Equinor is primarily a fossil fuel developer, drilling for oil and natural gas around the globe. A spokeswoman for the company's North American operation says the company has a "zero harm mandate" when it comes to extracting natural resources which they hope to exceed in this project.

Environmentalists are naturally skeptical of such energy producers, but the major groups in the region believe the risks posed by climate change, to ocean life and all life, are so vast that they justify whatever risks to local habitat might come from offshore wind farms. They're hopeful the trade-offs will be minimal.

"It's possible to harmonize protections for marine life with ambitious efforts to fight the climate crisis," says Francine Kershaw, from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Catherine Bowes, from the National Wildlife Federation, praises Equinor for committing to a new construction technology that will lower enormous prefabricated cement foundations for the wind turbines, rather than pile-driving into bedrock to hold the 850-foot-tall steel towers in place.

Whales are extremely sensitive to noise, she says, so avoiding the extremely noisy process of pile-driving is a big step.

"These 'gravity foundations' are a really exciting technology that could change how everyone puts up turbines," says Bowes, who is a member of the Environmental Working Group overseeing New York's two projects. "They could potentially take one really large threat to whales off the table."

But Bowes would also like to see Equinor and the other company that won a New York contract, the Danish corporation Orsted, put into writing strict commitments comparable to one made recently by a Massachusetts developer, Vineyard Wind, especially on how they manage their boats during construction and then later, during the multi-decade-long operational period.

"Ship strikes are the single greatest risk to whales," she says. "We need to get all developers to commit to actively monitoring for whales and to reducing ship speeds to avoid hitting the animals."

In one study, NOAA estimated that 37 whales were killed by boat strikes between 2010 and 2014, from the Gulf of Mexico up the Atlantic coast to Canada, but more recent monitoring by the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society found roughly that many whales killed by boats in a two-year period off New York alone.

"We believe we can actually be part of the solution here in bringing back whales and improving the whole ecosystem," says Julia Bovey, Equinor's director of external affairs in New York. "The data Howard and his team are collecting can make a massive difference in how we affect the marine environment."

Equinor is underwriting much of the research. The company declined to say how much it is spending, but Rosenbaum estimates that two sophisticated buoys they will soon deploy will cost "hundreds of thousands of dollars." These "near-real-time acoustic monitors" record whale calls and relay them to on-shore scientists via satellite.

Howard Rosenbaum, from the Wildlife Conservation Society, keeps an eye out for whales while a special high-tech buoy 'listens' for their calls. David 'Dee' Delgado/WCS/Ocean Giants/Image taken under NMFS MMPA/ESA Permit no. 18786-04 hide caption

Howard Rosenbaum, from the Wildlife Conservation Society, keeps an eye out for whales while a special high-tech buoy 'listens' for their calls.

"We need to be able to stop construction when the whales are in the area and be able to construct responsibly when they're not there, and the information from these buoys will be crucial," Bovey says.

While all whales are considered vulnerable, the North Atlantic Right Whale is among the most endangered animals on earth. There are only about 400 of them, according to the latest research by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

There are two sets of dangers to whales that Rosenbaum hopes the data he's collecting will mitigate. The first is ship strikes during the construction period. The other is the long-term danger the massive underwater structures and the transmission cables might pose to the whales. That is largely unknown, as whales do not migrate through the massive offshore wind farms in Europe.

"Does it create better foraging areas for whales? Does it disturb an area they might use?" Rosenbaum wonders aloud. "I think these are all questions that are all going to be borne out in the years to come."

The wind farm project predates a massive greenhouse gas reduction package the state government passed earlier this year, but it has become a centerpiece of what Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling New York's 'Green New Deal.' The legislation calls for 100% renewable energy by 2040, with a plan for reaching that goal to be mapped out in the next two years.

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Denmark plans $30 bn offshore wind island that could power 10 million homes – Economic Times

Posted: at 3:44 pm

COPENHAGEN: Denmark is moving forward with plans to build an artificial island tying in power from offshore wind farms of up to 10 gigawatts (GW) of capacity, more than enough to supply all households, as part of efforts to meet ambitious climate change targets.

Denmark is home to wind turbine giant Vestas and the world's largest developer of offshore wind,, and recently approved a law which targets reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent by 2030.

The energy ministry is looking for the right location to build one or more islands surrounded by offshore wind farms with a total capacity of at least 10 GW - equivalent to 10 million European households' electricity consumption.

Denmark covered 41 per cent of its electricity demand from wind energy in 2018, the highest level in Europe.

The project is crucial to meet Denmark's legally binding climate act, one of the world's most ambitious, which was passed by a broad majority in parliament on Friday.

But the plans could cost as much as 200-300 billion Danish crowns ($29.5-44.2 billion), the vast majority of which will be financed by private investors, according to the ministry.

Denmark, which has a population of around 6 million, has set aside 65 million crowns to research how the energy coming into the hub can be stored or converted into renewable hydrogen as all the power generated will not just be used by domestic customers.

It hopes that new technology will make it possible to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy in sectors such as transport and industry.

"If we really are to realise the enormous potential of offshore wind we must develop technologies of the future to convert the green power into fuel for aircraft, ships and industry," said climate and energy minister Dan Jorgensen on Tuesday.

Hydrogen produces water when it burns rather than the greenhouse gas CO2, offering a clean fuel if it is produced from renewable sources such as wind or solar energy, rather than from oil and gas, the source for much of the hydrogen produced now.

Interest in renewable hydrogen is growing as heavy industry, aviation and shipping look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

Energy firm Orsted has said it aims to invest in pilot projects that will use wind power and other renewable energy sources to make hydrogen fuel.

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Denmark plans $30 bn offshore wind island that could power 10 million homes - Economic Times

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