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Conscious Collaboration: How the Renewables Sector Can Learn From and Work With Oil and Gas Leaders

The low-carbon tomorrow that so many in the renewables sector thought may never arrive appears to be on the horizon. Thanks to a wider conversation surrounding the industry, advanced manufacturing systems that allow green companies to create more cost-effective operating models, and a lessened reliance on government subsidies to finance new initiatives, we’re slowly entering into an era where solar, wind, and thermal power options are less of a luxury or nice-to-have feature and more of a commonplace installation on residential and commercial structures alike.

However, it only takes one glance at any oil production report to understand that the oil and gas industry isn’t going away for good any time soon. Yet, renewable energy is quickly gaining speed, with some experts predicting that in the coming years, 50% to 75% of new gigawatt energy will be provided by the sector. The question remains, then, how can the two industries work together, even with the major differences in practice and philosophy that divide them?

The answer might be simpler than you think. Take Volvo’s recent announcement for example. The automobile giant announced last summer that all vehicles made after 2019 would be either electric or hybrid models. This paradigm shift came on the tails of several other wins for the renewables side, including the first coal-free power generation day in the U.K. The major commitment made by Volvo speaks volumes and reveals that to keep pace, maintain their bottom lines, and stay competitive, companies traditionally dependent on the oil and gas sector might do well to diversify their portfolios by investing, at least in some part, in renewables.

When the two industries collaborate together to share insights and best practices, the opportunity for growth and progress is unparalleled. This partnership will be especially helpful as renewables continue their move offshore and into previously uncharted territory. These are locations where oil and gas-centric companies have thrived for years, and their insight will prove invaluable in helping seamlessly integrate new renewable integrations in these locations. This means that exciting new projects can be up and running quicker than expected.

Moreover, leaders in the renewables realm can work hand-in-hand with oil and gas executives to discern successful measures for meeting strict compliance and safety measures when it comes to product design, deployment and maintenance. One example revealed in the cable system associated with offshore wind farms. The electricity that’s generated this way travels through a system of complex cables that take it back to the converter platform. Throughout this journey, the cables must be securely protected, especially at entry and exit points, which can be volatile and under stress due to weather and environmental conditions.

The oil and gas industry is familiar with these requirements and restrictions and the expertise and guidance of leaders in this sector can prove incredibly valuable. Leaders in this sector also have the offshore partnerships, resources and connections that can help those in the renewable industry establish the mission-critical relationships required to move their business initiatives forward. By engaging key decision makers at the onset, leaders in both industries can spearhead major efforts quickly and avoid costly downtime.

Moving forward, it’s important to understand that though the landscape around the renewables sector is rapidly changing and advancing, there’s still knowledge and insight to be gained from those at the helm of the oil and gas industry. By listening to one another and participating in thoughtful and strategic shared collaborations, industry leaders stand to learn a lot from one another -- and that common ground will be necessary once the new foundation truly does begin to take shape.

Courtney Myers's picture

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