Working with Fugro, the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST), has produced a new report on global attitudes of engineers towards operations and maintenance in the offshore renewables energy sector. The role of offshore renewables is critical in the energy transition, and in delivering the national commitments to reduce emissions that are being made as part of the green build-back in a post-Covid world and ahead of COP26.
Offshore renewables is moving forward at an exciting pace, with larger wind turbines and floating offshore wind moving to a commercial scale. The tidal and wave markets are developing and provide attractive options in some geographies, showing promise of commercialisation. Looking beyond the challenge of delivering the expected 234 GW of offshore wind by 2030 (Global Wind Energy Council Annual Report 2020), the operators and supply chain need to consider how to cost effectively operate and maintain the installed capacity.
This report addresses key issues related to skills, technology, data, and health, safety and environment.
Caitriona Hanly, Technical Manager at the IMarEST, commented: “The rate of growth of the industry and supportive technology creates new jobs, but readiness to accept this growth creates barriers – we need to understand the skills required to deliver both today and in the near future, as technological innovation delivers new requirements.
“Presently there is a distinct gap between turbine manufacturers and wind farm operators with respect to understanding whether turbines are performing outside specification and requiring optimisation or being operated incorrectly. We need to address this urgently to ensure the wind resource delivers the watts. Digitalisation is here and will happen, and initiatives such as the IEA Wind Task 32 workstream on Digitalisation of Wind lidar offer an insight into potential application for resource assessment, wind plan control and forecasting for operational support.
“Greater innovation can be challenging: gaining acceptance of novel technologies from the perspective of operator and certifying authorities is difficult. New technologies, particularly with respect to machine learning and AI, can be seen as a threat to jobs. The process by which we interface to these new technologies, and ensure expertise is unleashed and shared to enable future developments, will be critical. Underlying the above is the necessity to ensure that future innovation is delivered safely, with the well-being of the workforce paramount. The ability to reduce exposure to risk through new technology is welcome – the importance of quality of life has also come to the fore in a Covid-impacted world.”
This report helps support the aims of the Offshore Renewables Special Interest Group (SIG), and is a welcome addition to the body of knowledge supporting its activities.
You can download the free report or watch a webinar presenting the findings of the report below: