Back in February 2004, speaking in the House of Lords, Lord Greenway said: "It is a fairly safe bet, when one places a fixed object in the sea, that sooner or later a ship will run into it. Ships are good at running into one another, but they also hit fixed objects. I need only quote two recent incidents. One involved the Nab tower, which is a fairly substantial structure sitting at the eastern approaches to Southampton. It was clouted by a ship, even though it has been there for many years. The other incident involved Hythe pier, closer to Southampton, which was cut in two by a ship the other day. If things are there, ships will hit them."
Security of energy supply is mentioned frequently as we transition to net zero. But this does not just mean generating self-sustaining production of energy through renewable means. The means of generation itself also has to be protected and supply of energy may need to be supported by non-renewable means.
The collision of the Juiletta D with the HKZ wind farm off the Netherlands coast has highlighted the risk of disruption to the supply of offshore renewable energy from incidents, accidental or otherwise.
This is not new. Almost twenty years ago, the UK House of Lords raised concerns about adequate protection of offshore wind farms, with Lord Greenway noting the sure certainty that vessels run into stationary objects.
Exclusion zones do not protect wind farms from drifting vessels or intentional harm, and wind farms alone will not provide the security of energy supply needed to give confidence on the road to net zero.
Julietta D, the bulk carrier that had drifted in the Hollandse Kust Zuid wind farm offshore the Netherlands for several hours on Monday, 31 January, collided with one of the wind turbine monopile foundations at the 1.5 GW wind farm.