Lowestoft: OrbisEnergy centre hosts RenewableUK conference on offshore wind

Delegates networking at the Asset Management: Reducing Cost, Addressing Risk conference, staged at t

Delegates networking at the Asset Management: Reducing Cost, Addressing Risk conference, staged at the OrbisEnergy centre in Lowestoft by national trade body RenewableUK. - Credit: Archant

NEARLY 200 senior figures from across the UK’s offshore wind industry have met in Suffolk to debate the future of managing operational wind projects.

Delegates discussed what lessons can be learnt from pioneering wind farm operators off the East of England coast, and shared ideas from past and potential developments.

The conference, titled Asset Management: Reducing Cost, Addressing Risk, was staged at the OrbisEnergy centre in Lowestoft and hosted by national trade body RenewableUK.

The event challenged the supply chain to rethink how operations and maintenance (O&M) can become a more integral part of planning at the design and construction phase.

Maf Smith, deputy chief executive of RenewableUK, said he was delighted to bring such a significant event to Lowestoft.

“There is so much going on here and we need that knowledge from the early days of Round 1 windfarms as we gradually move forward into the massive Round 3 developments off the coast here,” he said.

“We’re glad to be back at OrbisEnergy for a second time and to hear real life experience from experts in the field. It is vital that we share that knowledge.”

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Stephen Rose, SSE’s offshore windfarm generation manager, said one of the lessons from the Greater Gabbard windfarm off Suffolk was the need for a good mix of transit vessels and the support of a helicopter to maintain access in variable weather.

Ramon Parra, offshore O&M manager for Vattenfall, part of the East Anglia Offshore Wind joint venture, agreed that waiting time and transport time were two of the major cost drivers, with 45% or issues attributable to bad weather.

Johnathan Reynolds, business development lead for OrbisEnergy, said he was delighted to see so many leading companies and experts looking to engage the regional supply chain in supporting and redefining offshore wind O&M.

“We’ve heard from major developers about the reducing costs through inventive supply chain models, the application of new technology from Scour Prevention Systems, innovative business models from 3Sun, high-growth successes such as Seajacks, and newer entrants like Fred. Olsen United.

“It’s quite something when a nationally significant conference such as this highlights the leading roles our existing and graduate OrbisEnergy tenants are playing. Leading from the front, or perhaps in our case, the East.”