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Building Capacity in Offshore Renewables”: Highlights from PAMEC 2024

«We need capacity building if we are to build a sector and support demonstration projects in Latin America»

Andrés Osorio Arias of CEMARIN at PAMEC 2024, Barranquilla, Colombia.

Offshore Energy Advancements in the Pan-American Region

In a dynamic narrative of innovation and collaboration, industry leaders, policy makers, and researchers converged this week at the PAMEC 2024 event in Barranquilla, Colombia. Their mission? To delve into the dynamic landscape of offshore energy, exploring the realms of wind, wave, tidal, OTEC, and Salinity Gradient Power across the pan-American region, spanning LATAM, the US, and Canada.

Boosting global capacity building

Peter Scheijgrond, representing Bluespring from the Netherlands and supported by the EU FLORES project, spearheaded the promotion of online courses in collaboration with Deftiq. This strategic move is aimed at elevating global capacity building within the sector. The initiative gains significant traction with the unveiling of a Spanish version, designed to enhance awareness among policymakers and stakeholders. This concerted effort, as part of the EU FLORES project, aligns with the broader goal of advancing skills in the offshore renewable energy sector.

FLORES pilot action for Spanish courses and a call for action

During the Technology & Services session, Peter Scheijgrond advocated for the integration of these courses into company training programs and syllabi, emphasizing their importance for industry advancement. This call to action was very well received and many signed-up.

Deftiq and Bluespring are preparing a pilot action as part of EU FLORES to test their Spanish courses and looking for 50 Spanish speaking volunteers to do the English or Spanish course. Interested to volunteer? Sign up now! 

Current status and future perspectives of ORE in South America

If you want an update on Offshore Renewable Energy read Milad Shaw’s (Brazil) recent paper. It presents the significant offshore resource and research activities in South America. Several countries, including Uruguay, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, and the Caribbean, have incorporated offshore wind and marine energy into policies and roadmaps, increasingly tied to green hydrogen production ambitions. Ambitious offshore wind plans are underway for Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, and certain Caribbean Islands like Curaçao, as highlighted in Diego Acevedo’s presentation from Aruba University.

Dutch salinity expert focuses on capacity building and knowledge exchange

Presentations from Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, and the US underscored the interest in OTEC and Salinity Gradient Power on the PAMEC agenda. This aligns with the region’s high sea water temperatures and large number of rivers flowing into the sea.

Colombia is gearing up for its first pilot project with Salinity Gradient Power at the mouth of the Magdalena River. PAMEC participants explored the future site during a boat tour. University del Norte’s decade-long collaboration with Dutch technology developer REDstack focuses on capacity building and knowledge exchange. REDstack recently supplied a membrane cell for further research on using reverse electrodialysis to desalinate water, highlighted during the conference. Wave and tidal research is also firmly on the agenda, with notable local developer NeoWave.

Challenges for LATAM nations

In contrast to European countries, LATAM nations face challenges accessing national and trans-national funding, hindering the deployment of physical demonstration projects. However, programs from the USA, World Bank, Central American Bank, and similar institutions offer Technical Assistance, initially for offshore wind and progressively extending to more innovative offshore solutions.

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