INVITATION TO MEET THE BUYER
Businesses interested in bidding for work in the floating offshore wind industry are invited to register to meet the buyer at a free on online supply chain event being hosted by Business Wales, Sell2Wales and Floventis Energy on Friday 30 June.
A joint venture between SBM Offshore, global specialists in floating offshore energy and renewable energy project development company Cierco, Floventis was awarded the agreement for lease for the Llŷr developments in the Celtic Sea by the Crown Estate in July 2021 subject to a Habitats Regulation Assessment. Representing half of the current opportunity in the Celtic Sea, this allows Floventis as the developer to progress with environmental assessment and surveys, secure access to the grid and seek planning consent through the statutory processes.
With a construction value in excess of £800 million, Llŷr 1&2 are test and demonstration projects that are a crucial stepping stone for the supply chain in advance of the Celtic Sea leasing round. Registration for the first supply chain event is now open here.
Supply Chain Director Alex Gauntt said: “With a team in Pembroke, we are committed to working with regional and local stakeholders to maximise the opportunity for ports and local businesses to support a sustainable economy.
“This is the first in a series of supplier engagement events that will introduce interested parties to the project and help us to further engage with potential supply chain partners across Wales. We will outline the timescales and procurement process for supply chain opportunities relating to construction, operations and maintenance over the next 25 year period. The event represents the first real opportunity to hear about projects that have been awarded an agreement for lease and are actually progressing through the Pre-FEED process. Llŷr is here and now so it’s a great opportunity to find out more.”
Pembrokeshire school children visit London to share their love of the Celtic Sea
Pembrokeshire school children have been to London to see their MP and show him all the reasons that they love the Celtic Sea.
11 children from Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi, Cleddau Reach VC School, Portfield School and Saundersfoot CP School visited the Houses of Parliament having won a competition organised by Floventis Energy in partnership with the Darwin Centre. Floventis Energy is the company behind the Llŷr 1 and Llŷr 2 projects, comprising of two separate 100MW floating offshore wind farms in the Celtic Sea.
The competition was part of a bespoke programme being run by Floventis and the Darwin Centre that includes a series of workshops on floating offshore wind for key stage 2 pupils throughout Pembrokeshire. These consist of an overview of climate change, fossil fuels and the benefits of renewable energy with a focus on mitigating climate change and future job opportunities. Schools have the option to choose between two different workshops – one that focuses on platform design and construction and the other focussing on climate change and wind turbine design. Educational resources are provided to the participating schools.
Stephen Crabb MP said: “Brilliant to see industry engaging with local schools highlighting the green energy shift and the unique opportunity that Floating Offshore Wind will bring to Pembrokeshire. I was delighted to welcome competition winners, along with several parents and schoolteachers to Parliament today for a tour and the chance to show me their drawings of the Celtic Sea. Big well done to all those that participated in the competition.”
Elana James, Head of Development Phase, Ysgol Penrhy Dewi said: “Working with the Darwin Centre and Floventis has been a brilliant opportunity to get our pupils engaged with climate change and the opportunity that we have in Pembrokeshire to be at the forefront of the new floating offshore wind industry. They have also loved their visit to London!”
Tess Blazey is Director of Policy and External Affairs for Floventis. She said: “We have been working with the Darwin Centre and primary schools in the area to inspire the next generation of STEM superstars in Pembrokeshire.
“This competition has given children the opportunity to showcase what the sea means to their communities – the potential it has, and why it’s so important to the region. Children were invited to submit their artwork which demonstrated their depiction of the Celtic Sea, and scoring was judged on identity, colour and creativity and a link to renewable energy and sense of place. It has been great fun and very rewarding to see how engaged the children are with renewable energy and their local environment.”
The Darwin Centre for Biology and Medicine was founded by Biochemist, Professor Tony Campbell CBE in 1993 and registered as a charity in 1994. Based in Pembrokeshire, the Darwin Centre aims to engage and enthuse young people and communities in STEM subjects through hands on field trips and workshops, from rock pooling to theoretical nuclear physics. The charity raises aspirations through opening up access to experts within the STEM industry and highlights potential careers available to the young people of Pembrokeshire.
The competition was judged by Arwyn Williams at Pembrokeshire College, and Rob Hillier from Pembrokeshire Council.
Good luck to Miriam
Our Commercial Manager Miriam Noonan has been short-listed for the 2023 Wind Investment Awards.
A graduate of Imperial College London with a 2:1 MEng (Hons) in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Miriam first joined the offshore wind industry in 2016 having previously worked for BP. After a period of time with ORE Catapult, Miriam joined Cierco Energy in 2021 as a Commercial Manager responsible for the creation and ongoing development of business cases for offshore wind projects including Llŷr 1&2 in the Celtic Sea.
The Wind Investment Awards celebrate best practices in the wind and wider renewable energy industry as we transition to a zero-subsidy future. Miriam is one of eight that have been short-listed for ‘Rising Star of the Year’. The awards will be held on Thursday 25 May
Good luck to all of those short-listed for an award!
A chat with Vicky Coy, Deputy Project Director
My career has been spent delivering large-scale design and engineering projects, so I was delighted to join Floventis Energy to work alongside Project Director Olivier Marchand on the development of the Llŷr 1 and 2 floating offshore wind farms in the Celtic Sea.
The projects have come forward through The Crown Estate’s Celtic Sea Test & Demonstration leasing opportunity, created to support the development and commercialisation of pioneering floating wind technologies. Each of the Llŷr projects will test a different floating platform technology to explore and demonstrate the nascent designs and installation approaches.
In July 2021, The Crown Estate confirmed their intention, subject to a Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA), to lease two floating offshore wind test and demonstration sites in the Celtic Sea to Floventis Energy. While we await the formal award of these lease areas by The Crown Estate, we are progressing with the development of the projects in line with the regulatory consent processes and expect to start formal consultation shortly. That’s an important milestone for the development of the projects.
Named after the Welsh god of the sea, the two Llŷr 100 megawatt (MW) projects are already playing an important role in helping to accelerate the development of the UK’s floating offshore wind industry. Situated approximately 31km from the Pembrokeshire coastline at water depths of 60-70 metres, the sites have wind speeds that are typically in excess of 10 metres per second – ideal for the generation of clean, renewable power.
Our mission is to deliver cost-efficient test wind farms that will enable the demonstration of two new floating wind technologies – testing the selected technologies and establishing a pathway to commercial exploitation. Each project is focussed on a demonstrating a different floating platform technology, providing two pathways to developing commercial-scale floating offshore wind. Indeed, we are currently working with our short-list of technology partners to determine how best to optimise the design of floating wind farms to reduce the costs of large-scale offshore wind developments within the UK.
Llŷr 1 & 2 will act as pathfinder projects to aid the establishment and growth of indigenous floating offshore wind industrial capability in the Celtic Sea region, in preparation for the larger commercial opportunity for floating wind. The capabilities of the supply chain depend on the opportunities and investment into them in the 2020s, and the setup of the offshore wind market. If lowest cost continues to be the only marker of success, or if the jump to GW projects is too fast, the supply chain may not grow or keep up.
It is therefore phased development and project awards, like the Llŷr projects, that will enable the local supply chain to develop. The Celtic Sea offers the opportunity for organic market growth beginning with steppingstone projects of the 100-200MW scale, growing to 1,000MW and beyond. This will support the local supply-chain to truly grow in parallel, targeting increased local content with the growing project sizes.
Meanwhile, we are focussed on completing our Environmental Statement as part of the consenting process and continuing our consultation with stakeholders before announcing our final technology selection. We will then move to the detailed design stage and beyond that into construction, each an exciting step in the drive for critical change in the UK’s energy mix.
BLOG – 21 MARCH 2023
Floating wind and the need for multiple ‘stepping-stone’ projects to deploy and demonstrate a wide range of critical technologies
Alex Gauntt, Supply Chain Director
It’s National Renewable Energy Day in the States so a good opportunity for me to reflect on what’s happening in the world of floating off-shore wind as campaigners raise awareness of the benefits of using renewable energy sources.
March 2019 was a bittersweet moment for the offshore wind sector in the UK. The two turbine offshore wind farm, Blyth, at the time owned and operated by E.ON (now RWE) started its decommissioning journey. The project, which was built in 2000 by a consortium made up of Border Wind, Powergen Renewables, Nuon UK and Shell Renewables, was the UK’s first offshore wind project, kick-starting an industry with incredible scale and ambition. Less than 2 km from the Northumberland shore, in less than 10m water depth on average (and not to be confused with the onshore Blyth Harbour Wind Farm along the East Pier of the Port of Blyth commissioned in 1993), the Blyth project consisted of two Vestas 2 MW machines, capable of producing sufficient power for more than 3,000 homes, situated on the UK’s first wind farm monopile foundations.
We cannot state for certain whether the fixed-bottom offshore wind projects in the UK we are seeing announced now, with projects in excess of 1 GW (250 times the size of Blyth) consisting of upwards of 15 MW per turbine and in water depths of 50m or more, would have been possible without the pathfinder aka ‘stepping-stone’ projects such as Blyth; but the industry certainly learnt a lot from such projects, lessons which have materially shaped the development and supply chain strategies of offshore wind farms ever since.
In terms of foundations, the UK was introduced to the concept of a monopile through such a project. A single, rolled and welded mono-tube, driven into the seabed, topped with a transition piece and turbine tower on which the turbine nacelle and rotor is perched, the monopile is bejewelled with secondary steel such as ladders, fenders and cable j-tubes, is a relatively simple device and suits shallow waters. However, this technology swiftly found it had an economic and feasible limit for deployment (limits which were often argued about and debated…and still are to this day) so a new technology was needed. Along came the ‘jacket’ foundations which are lattice towers of multiple rolled tubulars and cross braces to save steel (for cost) and weight (for installation complexity) for deeper water sites. Using primarily oil & gas technology and design codes, the first full-scale deployment of jacket offshore wind foundations in the UK was at the catchily named Distant Offshore Windfarms with No Visual Impact in Deepwater (DOWNVInD) project. Situated adjacent to the Talisman operated Beatrice oil field around 22 km from shore in water depths of up to 45 m, this project was developed by Talisman Energy and Scottish and Southern Energy under a partially EU-funded research project, and fully commissioned in 2007. It consisted of two 5 MW RePower turbines perched atop transition towers on transition pieces, affixed to the forementioned jackets which also held the secondary steel components required.
And that’s it pretty much for fixed bottom offshore wind foundations (except for gravity base type foundations – but that’s a whole story in and of itself and doesn’t feature in the UK very much). Almost every fixed bottom offshore wind farm in the UK is perched atop some sort of monopile or some sort of jacket foundation. 50-60m was generally considered as the economically feasible limit for deploying offshore wind farms in the UK…and then came floating.
As many of you will be are aware, there is a finite amount of relatively shallow water. Although the UK has been abundantly blessed with this asset, it does not equally service all geographies and regions. In areas such as the Southern Celtic Sea, or offshore North Scotland where wind abounds, but the ground is mostly out of reach for fixed-bottom foundations, the answer is floating.
However, floating offshore wind poses a particular challenge, in that there is no clear monopile or jacket (or indeed gravity base) equivalent and there are clear benefits (and challenges) to multiple technology types. The technologies currently deployed at ‘stepping-stone’ scale in the UK, consist of semi-submersible – a sort of floating tubular lattice structure with ballast and buoyancy – and spar-buoy-type foundations – a floating, upright ballasted tube – which both pose their own challenges to the industry and have yet to be deployed at fixed-bottom wind cost-competitive scales.
Semi-submersible foundations are inherently less stable than other types, unless over-sized to create additional stability, meaning that the turbine on top has to deal with a lot more movement than in the fixed wind environment. Meanwhile spar-buoy type solutions typically require extremely deep construction port facilities just to build the foundations, and there just aren’t that many deep-water ports capable of handling these requirements in the UK.
More technologies are required to find the best possible solution to the floating wind challenges in the UK of balancing supply chain capabilities with economic requirements. One exciting technology not yet deployed in the UK is the tension-leg platform (TLP), a smaller, simpler steel structure than a semi-submersible that has tensioned, typically vertical, moorings affixed to the seabed directly underneath the foundation.
The TLP technology offers potentially the most stable of floating wind turbine foundations but prefers deeper water deployment due to the additional cost and complexity of engineering the deployment and anchoring systems. Another exciting opportunity is in concrete, there are huge concrete semi-submersible designs, and concrete barge technologies, neither of which have yet been deployed in the UK at commercial scale.
Each of these technologies offers a particular opportunity to the UK supply chain where certain areas of the UK are well equipped to support concrete production and deployment, while others favour steel, and each have a different economic and engineering proposition to offer the developers and owner/operators of floating wind farms. But until we deploy examples of all the technologies in stepping-stone projects, on a competitive basis, we are not going to sufficiently de-risk them for the next generation of ‘industrial scale’ floating wind projects resulting in a limited choice of technology options potentially unoptimized for the specific UK requirements. After all the first monopile and jacket wind farms weren’t a hundred turbines each for many reasons, not just the cost…
A day in the life of Miriam Noonan
Miriam is Commercial Manager at Floventis. A graduate of Imperial College London with a 2:1 MEng (Hons) in Civil and Environmental Engineering, she first joined the offshore wind industry in 2016 having previously worked for BP. She tells us about her career path to date and her role working on the development of Llŷr 1 and 2.
What does your role involve?
I joined the team in 2021 as commercial manager responsible for the creation and ongoing development of business cases for offshore wind projects including Llŷr 1&2 in the Celtic Sea. I produce accurate, quantitative evidence to support decision making during the development phase of our projects, such as turbine selection and port strategies, so that Floventis can minimise project costs and manage commercial risks.
What experience did you have before joining the business?
I worked for ORE Catapult, an offshore renewables innovation centre, for five years before joining Cierco. During this time, I supported a range of organisations, from small start-ups to large original equipment manufacturers to accelerate the adoption of new technologies in the industry and was involved in a range of cost-focused industry programmes. For example, I led the offshore wind work stream for IEA Wind Task 26 (Cost of wind energy) before becoming a senior financial analyst in 2019 responsible for leading wave and tidal sector engagement with senior industry and policy stakeholders. I was promoted again in 2020 to analysis and insights manager, leading projects related to offshore renewables cost reduction, UK supply chain and economic value and energy policy. This included a number of studies for the Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence.
Tell us about your achievements to date
I am proud of several industry policy reports that I have been involved in. I was lead author on the milestone report “Floating Offshore Wind Cost Reduction Pathways to Subsidy Free” which outlined a number of Floating Offshore Wind (FOW) cost reduction pathways to subsidy free levels. Based on GIS mapping, we identified potential zones for FOW development and established deployment profiles that meet, and exceed, targets for Net Zero.
I then developed a bottom-up cost model to estimate a site-specific cost based on technical and environmental parameters and overlaid a component-specific learning rate made up of three individual factors, based either on UK only or global deployment: technology innovation, supply chain competition and economies of scale. The subsequent cost reduction profiles, reviewed and approved by members of the Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence, were adopted as representative industry forecasts, with several policy recommendations implemented as a result including- a Celtic Sea leasing round and higher short to medium term to deployment targets set by the government to provide certainty to the market.
What are the challenges ahead?
FOW projects are under immense pressure to both reduce costs and simultaneously create local jobs and investment in the UK economy – two objectives at odds with each other. I am producing modelling that will enable the team to assess the most efficient use of budget to maximise local content with the minimum incremental cost to the project. It’s important because we want to make sure that our projects deliver economic and environmental value for the region, but also reduce power prices.
What advice do you have for others wanting to enter the industry?
Offshore wind is an exciting industry to work in. Every project is pushing boundaries and breaking records. From apprenticeships through to senior leadership roles, there is an array of opportunity – engineers, scientists and project managers are just some of the jobs available for those starting out or transferring from other sectors. Come and talk to us – we’re always happy to chat with those interested in floating offshore wind.
Press Release March 2023
Major milestone for floating wind farms in the Celtic Sea as Floventis Energy completes benthic and geophysical survey
Plans for two 100MW floating wind farms in the Celtic Sea are progressing with the completion of benthic and geophysical surveys in readiness for the submission of a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) by developers Floventis Energy. The company is also opening offices in Pembroke Dock.
A joint venture between SBM Offshore, global specialists in floating offshore energy and renewable energy project development company Cierco, Floventis Energy was awarded the agreement for lease for the Llŷr developments by the Crown Estate in July 2021 subject to a Habitats Regulation Assessment. This allows Floventis as the developer to progress with environmental assessment and surveys, secure access to the grid and seek planning consent through the statutory processes.
Located 31km off the coast of Pembrokeshire, the Llŷr Developments (known as Llŷr 1 and Llŷr 2) will power in the region of 200,000 homes with 200MW of clean, green energy once operational by 2027. Each of the Llŷr projects will consist of six to eight turbines, all of which will be greater than 12MW.
Survey contractor N-Sea conducted the offshore survey using the N-Sea Spirit vessel, establishing a baseline ground model which will be developed as the project matures. The scope covered the offshore array area and export cable route corridor using both geophysical and benthic habitat survey techniques.
Director Scott Harper said: “Floating offshore wind is poised to become a key global technology in achieving a cost-effective net zero energy sector and is expected to become the backbone of a future energy system in the UK and play a significant part in reaching the Committee on Climate Change’s offshore wind target of 100GW of installed capacity by 2050.
The Celtic Sea will play a key role with 4GW of floating wind expected to be deployed by 2035. This will drive regional development, supply chain opportunities and new jobs while providing green, home-grown power for local communities.”
“We’re driving forward the floating wind industry in Wales with this project representing a major step towards the delivery of commercial scale wind in the Celtic Sea. The seabed rights awarded by the Crown Estate for Llŷr 1 and 2 represents two thirds of the leasing in Welsh waters in the Celtic Sea to date and will support supply chain and infrastructure development, helping to underpin a sustainable future for the sector in Wales.
“The project is now in the pre-application phase which means that we are preparing all the detail and options required to support a full planning application including the start of consultation. The opening of our office in Pembroke Dock is a reflection of our commitment to working with the local community and potential supply chain partners in the region while the safe completion of the surveys is an important milestone for us, particularly given the challenging weather conditions.”
Headquartered in Amsterdam, SBM is a leading global offshore energy business with a 60-year track record in offshore innovation, a workforce of 5,000 and revenue in excess of US$2.3 billion. With offices in Scotland and California, Cierco is an independent renewable energy project development company established in 2001. Projects range from first demonstrator deployments to larger pre-commercial and commercial arrays.
 Based on R-UK statistics using BEIS data https://www.renewableuk.com/page/UKWEDExplained/Statistics-Explained.htm
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