Eleven offshore wind developers – bp, EnBW, Fred Olsen Seawind, Parkwind, RWE, ScottishPower Renewables, Shell, SSE, Total Energies, Vattenfall and Ørsted – are partnering with the Carbon Trust to develop the first industry-backed methodology and guidance to measure and address the carbon emissions associated with offshore wind farms throughout their life cycles, including emissions from the manufacturing of materials and installation of wind farms.

These developers will work in collaboration with the Carbon Trust as part of the new Offshore Wind Sustainability Joint Industry Programme. The aim is to help the global offshore wind industry scale up as sustainably as possible and continue its contribution towards meeting the world’s net-zero target by 2050. A common standard will ensure that the scale of installation needed is delivered in a low-carbon way and encourage comparability across developers and assets.

Jan Matthiesen, director, Offshore Wind at the Carbon Trust, said: “Global climate targets can’t be met without stepping up renewable energy generation, and offshore wind is particularly crucial to the world’s transition away from fossil fuels. Our experience working with the industry through various joint industry projects is proof that collaboration is key. Over the last 14 years, we’ve focused on scaling up the offshore wind market through our joint industry programmes such as the Offshore Wind Accelerator and the Floating Wind Joint Industry Programme.” He added: “Now it’s time to turn our attention to supporting innovation and scaling up sustainably to create a more resilient and competitive industry. We’re delighted to be collaborating with such a global set of developers, whose collective voice has the potential to take the industry to the next level.”

Ingrid Reumert, senior VP and Head of Global Stakeholder Relations at Ørsted, said: “Energy still accounts for 73 % of global emissions, which makes a fast transition from fossil fuels to renewables the single most important climate action. As our industry prepares for a massive and necessary build-out of offshore wind farms, we must also pay attention to driving down emissions from supply chains and operations. This common methodology will help us do that as well as increasing transparency for governments, investors, and suppliers and enabling comparability across developers and assets.”

By the end of 2021, 55 GW of offshore wind capacity had been installed globally, with over a third being installed within 2021. However, according to the International Energy Agency, an additional 70–80 GW will need to be installed every year to achieve net-zero by 2050.

While offshore wind energy generation has a significantly lower carbon impact than fossil fuels, the sector must also work collaboratively to decouple its own value chain from carbon and resource-intensive models of production, deployment, and operation, addressing key hotspots such as steel, cement, and fuels.

The first project delivered as part of the Offshore Wind Sustainability Joint Industry Programme will aim to develop the first standardised methodology to enable developers to calculate the life cycle emissions of their offshore wind assets, including their upstream supply chain emissions, the construction phase, and the operation phase, engage with the industry to improve data quality and availability and promote greater supply chain transparency, and identify key carbon emission drivers and hotspots in the offshore wind value chain and wind farm life cycle.

The programme officially kicked off in January, with the methodology expected to be released for use across the industry by 2025.