Maritime Holland: Renewed Class of Energy

In our first edition of 2015 you could read all about the developments regarding renewable energy. One point in matter that was not yet touched upon is how classification companies are involved in renewable energy. Maritime Holland speaks to DNV GL and ClassNK on their involvement.

On 1 October 2014 classification society ClassNK announced they had established a renewable energy department to oversee a range of activities related to renewable energy, including review and the certification of new technologies. Hirofumo Takano, operating officer in charge of this department, explains: “As a leading classification society, we have utilised our wealth of expertise and over a century of experience in floating structures and machinery to establish our Wind Turbine Division in July 2011. The division was designed to provide the offshore community with certification services for wind power generation facilities and related support structures. In response to industry’s growing demand for support for additional marine renewable energy sources, ClassNKthen established its extensive Renewable Energy Department to oversee everything from review to classification.” DNV GL are long-time players on the renewable energy market with over 90 years of experience and 2,500 professionals dedicated to the business area energy. Bas Veerman, customer service manager at DNV GL states: “When DNV and Germanischer Lloyd merged we brought together KEMA, DNV, GL Garrad Hassan and GL Renewa-bles Certification which are the basis for DNV GL within the energy sector. Combining a wealth of knowledge and a vast history of experience. Some business areas over the whole of DNV GL interconnect, such as oil & gas, maritime and energy. We use our collective knowledge, for instance in offshore-related renewable energy projects, to provide our customers with the most detailed advice and recommendations. One of the services DNV GL-Energy offers is the certification of projects and equipment to the highest industry standards, such as our DNV-OS-C401 offshore standards on ‘Fabrication and Testing of Offshore Structures’, which are used worldwide by factories and suppliers, and also within the Dutch offshore industry.”

Expand the reach

“Until now, we offered certification services for onshore wind turbines and floating offshore wind turbines,” continues Takano, “but it is through our recently formed Renewable Energy Department that we are now able to expand our reach into providing certification services for other forms of marine renewable energy such as wave, tidal and ocean thermal energy. The services we provide will be essential for future projects in attaining financing and insurance. To support the further development of offshore wind turbines and other renewable energy facilities, we also plan to offer certification to confirm the suitability of marine construction projects, from a planning to instillation stages, and also offer solutions to a variety of global energy challenges. For instance, Japan is a world leader in demonstration testing for floating offshore wind turbines and several demonstration structures have already been established whilst many others are still under construction. As a classification society, we grant certification to floating structures, mooring systems of floating offshore wind turbines. It also provides total service and certification to wind powered turbines and floating offshore wind turbines.”

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Reliable grid

For DNV GL certification is only one portion of their involvement in renewable energy. Research, testing and offering advice are also part of this sustainable package. Veerman: “Besides our research we also do testing within our KEMA Laboratories in Arnhem, the Netherlands where we test and certify equipment regarding energy. The laboratory consists of a high power lab, which provides short-circuit, switching and mechanical testing and certification, based on international and regional standards, to utilities and equipment manufacturers worldwide. Next to that, there is also a high voltage lab which is an independent laboratory for testing and certification of medium and high voltage components used in the electrical infrastructure. You see, energy poses an interesting query as it must be safe and reliable. You don’t want traffic lights malfunctioning or hospital energy failing. Or likewise at home, you always expect the lights to go on when you push the button of the light switch. Our current society is very, very much dependent on energy. We also see that around the world, the growth of high-voltage power networks is driving a proliferation of new high-voltage transmission and distribution components, such as circuit-break-ers and power transformers. Before installing these new components in the power network, utilities must be confident they are reliable and function correctly to minimise risks of outages. To accommodate this growing need, DNV GL has made significant investments to improve and expand its testing capabilities in its KEMA Laboratories to accommodate the newest developments in components for electricity transmission networks.”

Essential For Future success

From grids, renewables and research, what is happening globally as well as nationally? Well, regarding cooperation within renewable energy ClassNK has teamed up with Singapore’s Nanyang Technical University to carry out the feasibility study for the development of the Marine Renewable Energy Scale-Up Test Facility which aims to support the development and expansion of the marine renewable energy industry. Speaking of Dutch involvement, Takano states: “In the Netherlands at ECN, Royal IHC, GustoMSC, Fugro, MECALand other energy-related organisations and internationally acclaimed research institutions, marine constructors, consultants and manufacturers have gathered to share their knowledge and skills for the purpose of global development in renewable energy. These individuals are essential to the future success of renewable energy. We hope to be able to assist them in achieving this shared goal by offering certification services to Dutch companies that operate in Japan, and would be honoured to work in collaboration with these organisations for the advancement of marine renewable energy.”

The findings of a recent study by DNV GL for the European Commission, looking at the impact of renewables on distribution grids both locally and across regions within Europe, showed that the integration of approximately 60 per cent of renewables into the European electricity system will be feasible by 2030, but will come with an extensive expansion of infrastructure, including transmission and distribution networks as well as conventional backup generation. The challenges of grid integration of renewables can be mitigated by a number of technical and regulatory measures. In addition to the necessary expansion of transmission and generation, the study specifically evaluates the requirements on distribution infrastructure.

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During WindEnergy Hamburg, held in September last year, DNV GL shared their findings with their latest report ‘Offshore wind: a manifesto for cost reduction’. The report details the challenges within the offshore wind industry, where is it said that the industry must act to reduce offshore wind costs to secure the future of this strategically important energy source in Northern Europe as well as in new markets in Asia and North America. In the report DNV GL states three basic strategies: ‘Doing it right’, mitigating risk and increasing certainty, followed by ‘Doing it better’, improving the efficiency of existing processes and finally by ‘Doing it differently’, innovating for the future. DNV GL states on their website: “Significant progress has been made bringing new innovation to market to help with the war on costs. Most notably this has included the development of new larger wind turbine technology, with DNV GL’s work playing an important enabling role. For example, we have provided Type Certification for the Siemens D6 offshore wind turbine and separately, we acted as technical advisor to the first large scale deployment of this technology. […] Working with industry partners, the actions DNV GL commits to in the manifesto have the potential to achieve reductions in the cost of energy of up to 25 per cent. This saving, combined with trends in other areas such as improved supply chain efficiency has the potential of delivering a total reduction of 40 per cent which is recognised by many stakeholders as the level required to secure the future of the industry.”

Foreseeable, renewable future?

“The global need for renewable energy is growing every year”, states Takano. “As a result of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, the Japanese demand for renewable energy in particularly is expected to increase even further. The popularity of the Feed-In Tariff which was introduced in 2012 has also led to an increase in domestic demand for renewable energy and the time has now come where a certain amount of our power supply must now come from renewable energy sources. Looking at wind power as an example, in 2014 there was a total of 2.7 GW of energy produced in Japan. If we take into consideration the potential energy production through facilities still under construction, the overall total potential wind energy production in Japan is as high as 6.0 GW. The market will continue expanding their operations and the use of marine renewable energy is anticipated to increase even more over the coming years.”

Rebecca McFedries