Energy case studiesLow carbon power & energy

  • Area of expertise: Renewables

A strategic industrial collaboration was set up between the University, SSE, ScottishPower Renewables and Wood Group. The objective was to reduce the cost of wind energy and also transfer these innovations across to the generation, transmission and retail spaces where appropriate.

Why was Strathclyde chosen?

The University's unique combination of deep knowledge across the renewables sector enabled this ambitious collaborative agreement. The agreement is cross-department and cross-faculty including large projects led by:

The suite of projects spans Foundations and Installations (FI), Asset Management (AM), and Electricity Network (EN) integration. Here we focus on the FI03 project, led by the Department of Management Science, which delivered an offshore wind installation logistics solution to the industrial partners.

What was done?

The development of an offshore wind farm involves a relatively complex sequence of activities in order to install electrical cabling, offshore electrical systems, turbine foundations, masts and turbines.

A range of different vessel types will be used for these operations. Within each vessel type there will be a choice of available vessels with different functional capability and different costs. Different vessel operations may be based in different ports to service the installation of one farm.

Choice of vessels and ports is a key decision affecting the cost and time of installing the farm. However, there are a large number of permutations of vessels and ports which could be selected. At present, there is no easy way to estimate the technical and economic trade-offs associated with a particular selected scenario.

This case study addressed two primary aims:

  1. Develop & implement a methodology and tool to assess/analyse the technical and economic implications of a prescribed scenario for installation of an offshore wind farm
  2. Develop & implement a methodology and tool for techno-economic optimisation of installation scenarios

What was achieved?

The tool was developed over two years by the collaborative team in the Departments of Management Science and Naval Architecture, Ocean & Marine Engineering, working in close partnership with key decision-makers in the offshore teams at SSE and SPR.

The tool has been operationalised and is being used in the construction phase of flagship offshore wind projects – Beatrice (SSE) and East Anglia One (SPR). As a result of the success of FI03 and other TIC LCPE projects, the partnership won the 2016 KTP awards in the multi-party collaboration category

What was said about the partnership?

SSE’s head of Innovation, Ken Scott, said:

The most interesting thing for us is when my colleagues use the project outcomes from the Technology and Innovation centre 'in anger'. My colleagues now ask 'when is the next project happening?' as this is actually impacting on our day jobs.

Strathclyde’s David McMillan, Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering

We are pleased to have delivered such a large impact into our industrial partners through TIC LCPE. Being able to tap into the deep expertise of our colleagues in Management Science, NAOME, and both mechanical and electrical engineering enables us to deliver a truly unique capability to industry. It’s very satisfying to see our work now moving into ‘business as usual’ and enabling cost reductions on such a frequent basis. We feel there is much more cost reduction to come for renewables as we develop these methods further.