USA: Optimized for Offshore – GL Garrad Hassan Winner of Two DOE Grants
To meet the renewable energy targets of the next century, offshore wind projects hold great promise with steady, strong winds, abundant space and low impacts. These benefits are not without their challenges, however, as developing offshore wind power projects requires significant investment, expertise and a reliable knowledge base.
To help build this base, GL Garrad Hassan, part of the GL Group, has been awarded grants by the US Department of Energy (DOE) of $500,000 and $200,000 to fund two studies to identify optimal strategies for the installation, operation, and maintenance of offshore wind farms and to assess the readiness of US ports to meet the needs of the industry.
The grants are part of a broader DOE offshore wind initiative which has awarded over $43M for projects aiming to accelerate technical innovations, lower costs, and shorten the timeline for deploying offshore wind energy systems.
Optimized Ports Assessment – Examining Capabilities, Identifying Investment Potential
GL Garrad Hassan will undertake a detailed analysis of the current and future needs of the US offshore wind industry for port facilities, namely by examining the suitability of ports to meet the technical requirements of the industry for the assembly, construction, and operational staging of offshore projects. This study will also identify gaps in the capability of individual ports to service regional offshore projects and identify potential investment opportunities to boost this capacity.
Port facilities are strategic hubs in the offshore wind farm supply chain, since all plant and transport logistics must transit through these facilities. Port infrastructure will have to be dramatically expanded for renewable energy generation policy targets to be met. The outcomes generated by this study will help Federal and State policy-makers and port authorities take effective action to maximize the economic potential of ports in the offshore value chain.
Optimized Installation, Operation & Maintenance Strategies – Reducing Risk
With each new report released, the estimations of the vast offshore wind resources of the United States seem to grow. To ensure that the projects seeking to harness this energy bonanza will have a head start, GL Garrad Hassan will identify the optimal approaches to offshore installation and O&M (operations and maintenance) for US project conditions. Further, a detailed review and modeling program will assess the costs of employing these approaches so that the US offshore wind industry and other stakeholders are able to understand, minimize, and mitigate their financial and project risk.
A lack of understanding of the marine conditions associated with offshore activities in Europe has often resulted in projects which have suffered construction delays, poor availability, and financial penalties. Building on GL Garrad Hassan’s detailed reviews of the historical, current, and future planned installation methodologies within the offshore wind sector, the results of this study will help the growing US offshore wind industry avoid pitfalls and setbacks suffered in European markets.
Analysis Tools and Stakeholder Workshops – Allowing Industry to Assess Individual Projects
In addition to the final reports of these studies – which will detail the methodology and findings of all phases of the projects – GL Garrad Hassan will be providing the results to stakeholders in the form of stand-alone analysis tools. These tools will allow stakeholders to assess the capacities and identify opportunities with respect to their individual projects. Users will be able to examine individual port infrastructure against set offshore wind farm development criteria and run their own cost-of-energy analyses for the installation and operation of a project based on their own inputs.
During the final stages of both studies, GL Garrad Hassan will also be conducting stakeholder workshops. The workshops will not only demonstrate to industry participants the application of the analysis tools developed as part of each study, but will also strive to raise awareness of the work conducted in the studies and, most importantly, gather further feedback on the outcomes from stakeholders.
“At GL Garrad Hassan we see it as vital that all of the stakeholders are not only involved in the production of these reports, but can also access the benefits stemming from them. Strong stakeholder involvement means that the findings will be underpinned by credible and reliable information, while making the results available to industry in the form of a distributed analysis tool will allow industry stakeholders to use their own tailored data to identify the opportunities for individual projects,” stated Phil Dutton, Senior Vice President of GL Garrad Hassan America.
Offshore WIND staff, April 05, 2012; Image: gl-group