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Fugro investigation recommends combining CSS with offshore wind farm developments

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09 June 2022

The Netherlands’ Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy commissioned Fugro to assess whether areas of the North Sea could simultaneously be used for offshore wind farm (OWF) developments as well as carbon capture and storage (CCS) solutions. Based on the evaluation of current practice, Fugro determined that while both OWF and CCS projects can coexist, there are four key recommendations that must be followed to ensure the safety of future projects.

These key recommendations are:

1. Development of a (3D) characterisation model for geological sites. Such a model can be used to determine the probability of an earthquake occurring directly below a wind farm.
2. Monitoring of CO2 liquid injection to understand the effects on the pressure of the earth. 
3. Installation of a seismic monitoring system to monitor the actual seismicity at the site.
4. In combination with 3, implementation of a traffic light system. This traffic light system is a seismic risk management system with which, for example, activities can be stopped in good time.

The North Sea will play an important role in the energy transition. Both carbon capture and storage and offshore wind are crucial technologies for the Netherlands to achieve its climate goals. Current ambitions of the Dutch government include two CCS-projects (Porthos and Aramis) as well as 21 GW of electricity generated by offshore wind farms by 2030. This study offers valuable insight into the compatibility of these activities and under what conditions they can safely coexist in the vicinity of one another.

James Faroppa, Fugro’s Director of Marine Geoconsulting Europe-Africa, said: "Through our expert teams’ analysis, we were able to share valuable insights that ensure the assets of the new energy economy operate in a safe, sustainable and efficient manner. This study is testament to our ongoing support of the energy transition, and we’ll continue to work closely with our clients and partners to expedite projects and build programmes that further improve energy security, environmental sustainability and safety for all.”

The results of this study will be used to inform regulatory decisions and guide future overlapping CCS and OWF developments.