Ramboll to help New Jersey develop its Offshore Wind Strategic Plan

01 October 2018 Consulting.us

Ramboll has been appointed to lead a consortium of offshore wind experts in the development of New Jersey’s Offshore Wind (OSW) Strategic Plan. The plan will see around 3,500 MW of offshore wind capacity brought online by 2030.

A shift to sustainable energy is one of the wider changes needed to stave off the worst effects of man-made climate change. The Paris Agreement has a target of no more than 2.0C warming by 2100, with a strong preference for 1.5C.

The US recently announced it plans to leave the Paris agreement. Yet, a clear scientific consensus around the causes of climate change, state-level legislative powers, and opposing political and environmental worldviews to that of the White House mean that numerous states are continuing to shift their energy economies towards more sustainable sources.Ramboll to help New Jersey develop its Offshore Wind Strategic PlanWind energy is one of the primary candidates for renewable energy deployment. The technology has seen considerable development in recent years, with larger turbines reducing costs and boosting efficiency, wider economies of scale kicking in, and construction firms and suppliers developing deeper technical insight into designing and building windfarms.

As it stands, the US has relatively limited offshore wind capacity, at just 30 MW. This is set to change significantly in the coming years, as 14 GW of new capacity is slated to be operational by 2030. One of the most ambitious projects is the planned development of 3,500 MW of offshore capacity in the state of New Jersey. The development of the new capacity will be set out in the State’s Offshore Wind (OSW) Strategic Plan. The plan is set to be developed by a consortium of industry experts, led by Ramboll.

The specialist consulting firm will work together with Stantec Consulting Services, Rutgers Energy Institute Wind Group, BVG Associates, the Business Network for Offshore Wind, InGroup, and Endeavor Fisheries to guide the development of renewable energy in the state.

Ramboll will bring extensive national and international experience in the field to the project. The firm has worked on a range of wind energy projects, including the Fosen Vind project. The Danish firm also recently acquired two specialist consultancies in the space.

According to Allan DeLorme, Americas President of Ramboll’s Environment & Health business, “Ramboll has been leading the industry since it began in Denmark in 1986 and developed across Europe and into the U.S. Many lessons have been learned from Europe that can be applied to the U.S. market, but only with a strong understanding of the local environment, and the energy generation and usage markets. Together, this team is uniquely suited to help New Jersey develop a smart and effective OSW Strategic Plan that meets the needs and addresses the concerns of all constituents, while ensuring that the State achieves its goal of being a leader in the U.S. offshore wind market.”

In other Ramboll news, the engineering and design consultancy recently opened a new office in Minneapolis, adding Todd Renville as a principal in the office. The firm also recently welcomed Shauna Dallmer as a principal at its Houston office, and appointed Guy Lewis as the Chief Operating Officer of Environment & Health business in Ramboll’s Arlington, VA office.

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Business reporting increasingly focused on sustainable development goals

18 April 2019 Consulting.us

According to the prevailing scientific consensus, climate change, pollution and environmental degradation resulting from current economic models cannot be sustained without considerable effect on societies going forward. Purpose beyond profit is being expressed by businesses, while meeting global targets for sustainability is also being incorporated into wider business practices. Reporting on positive and negative business impacts remains poor, however.

The economy has, for decades, come first. The consequence of that mindset, particularly with poorly planned growth, has left future generations with large-scale problems. The scientific community has for decades warned of over-pollution and over-consumption, with many of the world’s largest businesses now grudgingly taking heed.

Climate change, biodiversity and waste are the current key issues, with the UN climate accord putting in place a maximum bound for human-induced warming. Loss of biodiversity and dealing with pollution remain major areas in which global protocols will be necessary to mitigate long-term negative impacts with little short-term gains.

While global-level, intergovernmental collective action will be necessary to transition to a sustainable economic model, the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) are a key port of call for businesses seeking to meet current sustainability criteria for their activities. A new report from PwC, titled ‘Reporting with Purpose and Impact’, explores how effectively companies are meeting SDG reporting goals – which show the increasingly social and enviro-conscious public whether a company is meeting the sustainability goals in its operational footprint.

Responsible business reporting increasingly focused on SDG

One key indicator of good reporting is a clear statement of purpose for the business as a whole. Concentrating solely on shareholder profit could have a negative impact on the public perception of a company – particularly if that profit appears to come at the expense of SDG goals themselves. A statement that includes the wider positive impact of a company, as well as the ways in which it mitigates its externalities, are increasingly seen as a necessary tool to improve public perception.

As such, the report shows that companies that have a wider social purpose to their existence tend to have a better public perception and a wider licence to operate in society. The study found that 47% of companies had a clear statement of purpose that aligned with their core business, while 45% of companies failed to have a clear statement of purpose.

The study notes that though reporting has historically focused on key social and environmental metrics (such as CO2 emissions), new reporting standards look at the whole footprint of companies across their entire value and supply chains – including subsidiaries, contractors, and suppliers.

The fuller accounting explores the whole impact of their activity on society and the environment, which makes it considerably harder to hide the effect of their suppliers or subsidiaries, which could have considerable environmental impact – even though the parent company has in theory “reduced its emissions to zero.” Furthermore, positive achievements like reducing poverty or improving quality of life needs to be considered in light of the long-term sustainability of that achievement. 

In the end, analysis of FTSE 350 reporting finds that companies are not clearly reporting their impacts on the environment, are not aligning their stated purpose with their environmental outcomes, and are largely focusing only on positive aspects of their impact, rather than the less flattering whole.