Mr Bernd Okkels is a Technical Consulting Director at RCG. He has worked with engineering, procurement and construction of offshore wind farms and Power-to-X plants for more than 25 years and has comprehensive experience with business and project development.
Mr. Okkels has extensive experience with maturation and development of novel technology, converting innovative ideas to actual projects, introducing and implementing new technical solutions for sustainable energy projects. He has detailed knowledge of flexible power plants and large-scale integration of renewables in transmission and distribution systems. He has worked with Hybrid power plants, Solar power, energy storage and founded a Power-to-X competence center.
Mr. Okkels is trained as an electrical power engineer and is also qualified in line- and project management.
President Biden has signed a $430 billion economic and energy bill – an omnibus spending bill that seeks to address climate change, inflation and Medicare costs while allocating billions to cut carbon emissions and incenting clean energy production and development.
In a big victory for the Biden Administration, The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 quickly gathered momentum in Congress in late July after Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) – two holdouts that opposed Biden’s original climate bill – agreed to lend their support.
The legislation – which aims to cut emissions 40% by 2030 – contains $369 billion in climate and energy provisions, devoting nearly $280 billion to clean energy tax incentives.
Generally speaking, renewables in the US are facing pressure from rising supply chain costs, global supply chain disruptions and spiking commodity costs. The IRA will stimulate green technologies and ramp up domestic supply chains, creating favorable conditions for US offshore wind.
The act extends and expands several new clean energy tax credits, such as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Advanced Manufacturing Production Credit. Such long-term extensions are crucial for developers and suppliers to plan future projects without the fear of tax incentives expiring.
Perhaps the most impactful measure for offshore wind is an extension of an existing ITC, which was set to expire in 2025. The bill allows for the 30% ITC available to projects placed in service after 2024. Notably, the ITC and PTC would phase out when emission reductions meet target levels of 25% of 2022 levels or after 2032, whichever is later.
“The Inflation Reduction Act provides certainty for clean energy as this legislation breaks the ‘on-again off-again’ policy cycle,” notes Doug Pfeister, Managing Director of The Renewables Consulting Group, an ERM Group company. “This game-changing legislation will set-up US offshore wind for years to come and go a long way in helping President Biden achieve his stated target of 30 GW of US offshore wind by 2030.”
A long-term extension should also help to alleviate wind developer concerns about the rising cost of raw materials. Projects meeting certain domestic content requirements are eligible for a bonus credit. The act supplements the offshore wind supply chain with a broad array of supportive tax measures, such as extra deductions for US-made content like offshore wind shipbuilding but also for production costs of critical minerals, nacelles, tower foundations, inverters, batteries, and other components in the offshore wind supply chain.
The Act also opens up wide swaths of seabed available for future leasing opportunities. For starters, the IRA will resume offshore wind leasing off the southeast seaboard, reversing a 2020 executive order issued under President Trump. The IRA also directs the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to issue Calls for Information before September 2025 for offshore wind areas within the exclusive economic zone adjacent to US Territories such as Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the US Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands.
For the first time, the act includes significant new incentives for clean hydrogen production, such as a Clean Hydrogen PTC/ITC. The bill provides a separate credit stream for integrated hydrogen projects and is available during the first 10 years of facility operation provided projects begin construction before 2033.
Jesse Broehl is a Principal in RCG’s New York Office. He has over a decade of experience as a research analyst, consultant and wind energy subject matter expert journalist covering renewable energy. Mr. Broehl uniquely blends technical and industry knowledge on the US renewable energy market with years of writing and market report authorship experience.
Mr. Broehl is an experienced renewables analyst and has lead authorship on multiple technical and market intelligence reports. His experience includes over a decade focusing analyses on wind energy primarily, and solar and energy storage secondarily. As a skilled writer and industry analyst, Mr. Broehl is familiar with all aspects of the renewables market both domestically in the US and globally, and excels in market insights and strategy. He has served clients from across the industry, including wind turbine OEM companies, private equity companies, oil companies, and others.
Mr Broehl joins RCG from the leading US trade group for renewables, where he was a key member in renewable energy market, policy, and technology trend research and analyses. As a research analyst and consultant at an energy consultancy, Mr Broehl managed the firm’s global wind energy market analysis, competitive assessments, product and supply chain analysis, market forecasts and emerging technologies and strategies. In this role he was also the lead author on multiple annual reports and data products. Mr. Broehl has a degree in journalism and multiple lead authorship credits to his name.
The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and partners have delivered a report outlining a series of recommendations for the Scottish Government to facilitate research collaborations between Scottish and French organisations working in floating wind and hydrogen.
Published by The Scottish Government today, the report produced by EMEC in partnership with French engineering firm INNOSEA and London-based The Renewables Consulting Group (RCG), part of ERM, explores the technical innovation status of both floating wind and hydrogen supply chains in Scotland and in France.
This study was motivated by the recognition of shared priorities in Scotland and in France. Floating wind and hydrogen technologies are integral to evolving energy decarbonisation strategies in both countries due to shared geographical characteristics and energy system contexts, suggesting that there are opportunities both for growth, and specifically for Franco-Scottish collaboration in these sectors.
The report identifies shared technical and innovation challenges in the supply chain, including the need to develop port infrastructure and offshore working practices, as well as further research and development in materials and components for both floating wind and hydrogen systems. Opportunities and research needs associated with the integration of floating offshore wind and hydrogen systems in the future are also laid out in the report, noting that it is currently unclear whether hydrogen production facilities would best be located on or offshore if powered by floating wind.
Research conducted for the report was bolstered by direct engagement with supply chain stakeholders in both Scotland and France, including technology providers, infrastructure operators, project developers, policy makers, academics and enterprise agencies.
Stakeholders took part in a series of online workshops, interviews and questionnaires, where they shared views on continuing research needs for hydrogen and floating wind technologies, and the best means of supporting collaborative working between Scottish and French organisations. The sessions highlighted significant appetite from supply chain organisations in both countries to explore future collaborative demonstration projects with these technologies.
As a result of constructive engagement with French organisations in the Brittany and Occitanie regions, the report recommends that the Scottish Government seek to facilitate knowledge exchange and relationship building activities between Scotland and organisations in those regions. Establishing a research and development platform involving organisations in Scotland, Brittany and Occitanie is a further recommendation to support collaborative innovation activity to help resolve the shared technical challenges identified.
The full findings of this project report and the recommendations made to the Scottish Government have been published today, ahead of COP26 which is set to take place in Glasgow in November 2021.
Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport said:
“Scotland has some of the best wind resource in the world, and floating offshore wind will play an important role in supporting our just transition to becoming a net zero economy by 2045 – not just for its contribution to clean electricity generation, but as a key driver of the developing hydrogen economy in Scotland.
“We will continue to maximise opportunities in new innovations and emerging technologies, including in the integration of these two important sectors, which is why I am pleased to see the outcome of this collaborative project and its recommendations. Strong international partnerships will be critical to developing Scotland’s hydrogen economy and delivering our net zero objectives. I look forward to further collaboration between France and Scotland in the continued development of this work.”
Dr James Walker, Hydrogen Development Manager at EMEC, said:
“In delivering this project, we had many fruitful discussions with organisations from across the full floating wind and hydrogen value chains in Scotland and in France. All of those discussions underscored the significant upcoming opportunities for organisations in both countries to work together, and the many exciting research questions which we can busy ourselves in answering.
“We are immensely grateful to all those who have supported this project through participating in our various engagement activities.”
Hakim Mouslim, Chief Executive Officer at INNOSEA, said:
“We are really pleased to have participated in this important Franco-Scottish collaboration. The findings of this project represent a turning point in unlocking opportunity ahead in the floating wind and hydrogen value chains of our two countries, in particular regarding innovation activities and de-risking supply chain for the integration of these technologies.
“This in turn, lays the initial foundations of a roadmap for collaborative innovation of floating wind power for green hydrogen production, that is both scalable and competitive – potentially a game-changer in our race to net-zero.”
Dan Kyle Spearman, Associate Director and Floating Wind Lead at RCG, said:
“Hydrogen from floating wind will be a key vector for deep decarbonisation of industries globally. In our report, we’ve outlined recommendations on how Franco Scottish partnerships can be leveraged to accelerate the commercialisation of these technologies. We are grateful to have been involved in a successful collaboration between Scottish Government and industry, as well as our partners EMEC and INNOSEA, and we’re excited for the future opportunities in this sector.”
The full report is available for download from The Scottish Government website: https://www.gov.scot/publications/fostering-future-scottish-french-research-development-collaboration-floating-wind-green-hydrogen/
The Scottish Government
Further information on the project and the call for tender is available here: https://www.publiccontractsscotland.gov.uk/search/show/search_view.aspx?ID=NOV400170
The Scottish Government Office in Paris is part of a network of Scottish Government Offices abroad, whose objectives are to promote innovation and investment and to strengthen cultural and economic links between Scotland and France. Further information here : https://www.gov.scot/policies/international-relations/international-offices-paris/
The 26th UN Climate Change Conference will take place in November 2021, at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow.
More information on Scotland’s Energy Strategy can be found at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-energy-strategy-future-energy-scotland-9781788515276/
London, United Kingdom – The world’s largest pure-play sustainability advisory firm, ERM, announces the acquisition of RCG (The Renewables Consulting Group) – a global market intelligence, management consulting, and technical advisory firm operating exclusively in the renewable energy sector.
The acquisition expands ERM’s capabilities to support clients across the entire lifecycle of large-scale renewable energy projects, from market intelligence and strategy development through to the development, construction, operations, and decommissioning of projects. It further strengthens the firm’s ability to advise clients on the purchase and sale of renewable energy assets, and adds deep sector experience in offshore wind projects.
The team of RCG grows ERM’s +5,500-strong firm by approximately 60 experts, based in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific. RCG’s leadership team joins the ERM partnership.
ERM continues to expand and diversify its market presence through acquisitions. The deal marks ERM’s sixth acquisition announced in 2021, including related acquisitions in next-generation low-carbon technology advisory, and renewables consulting.
Keryn James, CEO, ERM said: “Our purpose is to shape a sustainable future with the world’s leading organizations. Navigating the new opportunities presented by renewables and low-carbon technologies is central to this ambition. With the acquisition of RCG, we are in an even stronger position to help our clients unlock the enormous potential of the clean energy revolution. We warmly welcome the talented RCG team to the ERM Group.”
Sebastian Chivers, CEO, RCG said: “From the outset, our vision for RCG has focused on building the most respected firm in renewable energy consulting, globally. Becoming part of the ERM Group will help us accelerate that vision and become a global leader for our clients in the energy transition. The backing of ERM will allow us to take the business to the next level.”
Lee Clarke, COO, RCG said: “We already have a track record of successfully collaborating closely with ERM across global markets and have shared values and ways of working. Operating together as a single team unlocks competitive advantage for clients throughout the project lifecycle.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo used his 11th annual State of the State address to lay out a sweeping plan to make the Empire State a leading player in US offshore wind, while also committing funding for transmission system upgrades and the refurbishment of several port facilities to be used as manufacturing hubs.
In a speech entitled “Reimagine Rebuild Renew,” Cuomo laid out the damaging effects from climate change.
“Our planet is in crisis. By every metric it is clear: Sea levels are rising; ice caps are shrinking. California is burning, the Arctic is melting and deserts are flooding,” – New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Jan 2021
He went on to say, “We are proposing the largest wind programs in the nation and advancing our green manufacturing capacity and the jobs that go with it. Our new energy superhighway will be optimized by state-of-the-art battery storage facilities, so we can store renewable energy to be used when needed. These projects will not only create power but bring needed economic opportunity to struggling parts of our state, create green jobs, and make New York State a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse.”
Perhaps the most notable announcement – in a speech full of them – was Cuomo’s naming of Equinor Wind US LLC (and its incoming strategic partner bp) as the recipient of a state contract for the development of 1,260 MW of offshore wind from Empire Wind 2, and another 1,230 MW of nameplate capacity from Beacon Wind 1. Equinor is already slated to provide New York with 816 MW of generation from Empire Wind 1.
Once the offshore wind farms are complete, the Governor said more than half of New York’s electricity will come from renewable sources, putting the state ahead of schedule toward reaching its 70% by 2030 Clean Energy Standard goal.
The chart below shows RCG’s forecast for offshore wind commission activity for projects with renewable energy procured by New York.
As jobs are critical to the plan, Cuomo said that New York has secured commitments from companies to manufacture wind turbine components within the state, including what New York believes is the first US offshore wind tower-manufacturing facility at the Port of Albany.
The state also plans to establish an offshore wind turbine staging facility and operations and maintenance hub at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal and increasing the use of the Port of Coeymans for turbine foundation manufacturing. Plans also call for the fortification of operations and maintenance out of Port Jefferson and Port of Montauk Harbor in Long Island. Cuomo said the projects will leverage almost $3 of private funding for every $1 of public funding, for a combined $644 million investment in these port facilities, and will ultimately yield 2,600 short- and long-term jobs in the offshore wind industry.
New York will contract with 24 large-scale renewable energy generation projects in 2021, to bring the State’s total clean energy build-out to nearly 100 projects. The 23 solar farms and one hydroelectric facility will be the most cost-efficient clean energy construction to date in New York, producing more than 2,200 MW of power.
The state will also develop and deploy state-of-the-art renewable energy storage technology and facilities to generate electricity, build the capacity for storage, and help the state achieve its ambitious climate plans. Cuomo referenced New York Power Authority’s 20 MW battery storage project in northern New York, one of the largest storage projects in the State’s growing portfolio of almost 1,000 MW of contracted storage projects.
As New York builds capacity to generate clean energy in its northern region, the next challenge is to create a modern transmission system capable of delivering this electricity efficiently to high-demand areas located in its southern region, like New York City. Upgrading transmission facilities will help make the system more efficient. Last year, he said, New Yorkers utility bills reflected approximately $1 billion in unnecessary “congestion costs” because of bottlenecks in its aging transmission grid.
Cuomo said New York will build a 250-mile transmission project to help maximize the use of renewable energy for the parts of the state that still rely on fossil-fuel plants. Construction has already started on the New York Power Authority’s 86-mile Smart Path project from Massena to Croghan, and construction will soon start on several key projects in Western New York, Mid-Hudson and the Capital Region. New York will issue a Request for Proposals for transmission arteries to bring renewable energy from Upstate and Canada to New York City.
Taken together, Cuomo intends the renewable energy announcements will continue to build on what the state is already doing. As with previous State of the State speeches, Cuomo used the platform to promote renewable energy as the engine to drive economic growth and opportunity.
“Our entire green energy program will create a total 12,400 MW of green energy to power 6 million homes, directly create more than 50,000 jobs, and spur $29 billion in private investment all across the state.”