Paul Reynolds on DNV GL’s manifesto for offshore wind

Last month DNV GL published a manifesto on how to cut costs for offshore wind. Here Paul Reynolds, head of renewables strategy and policy in the UK, goes into the details.

By Jason Deign

It is not the only organisation in the world that wants to bring down offshore wind costs. But DNV GL, the global certification giant, believes it has a three-point plan that might help cut the cost of offshore projects once and for all.

Last month it published ‘Offshore wind: a manifesto for cost reduction’, with 14 pledges grouped under three headings: do it right, do it better and do it differently.

The first pillar of the manifesto contained measures, such as launching joint industry projects on improving marine operations and cable installation. The second covered topics such as optimising monopile design standards and delivering better site designs.

And the third, doing things differently, included pushing the technological limits of turbine design and driving the commercialisation of floating wind.

“The DNV GL manifesto for offshore wind cost reduction does more than identify and quantify cost reduction opportunities,” said the certification body in a press statement. “It sets out the challenge and commits DNV GL to action on the most important issues.”

But what led DNV GL to come up with this document? And how realistic are the proposals? To answer this and other questions, Wind Energy Update got in touch with Paul Reynolds, DNV GL’s head of renewables strategy and policy in the UK.

Q: How is DNV GL implementing its manifesto in projects today? Can you provide examples?

A: DNV GL has re-issued the monopile design guide, which for large monopiles could reduce the steel weight by around 7% to 15%. This is out now and so designers can use this in projects today. Moreover this saving has not come from a radical technical shift.

Instead, it has arisen from reviewing the underpinning assumptions associated with the welds for monopiles, which highlights that the sector is still young, with plenty of potential for improvement by simply doing it better.

In addition, DNV GL understands that the cable installation recommended practice document is now being used as the benchmark for contractual discussions on subsea cable installation for offshore. This is clearly helping the sector to do it right.

Q: Can the manifesto be used in any way universally across the marine energy sector, including offshore wind and tidal energy, for example?

A: The manifesto has been written with offshore wind in mind, but the themes identified are certainty relevant for tidal energy, as are some of the initiatives.

For instance, getting it right through proper management of risk is very important in tidal, with the environmental conditions posed by strong tides in the installation phase even more challenging than offshore wind.

In addition, wave and tidal devices will need to install cables and the work we are doing to reduce cable installation risk, first in the publication of the recommended practice document and now in a follow-on joint industry project, will be extremely relevant for all marine renewables.

Q: What are DNV GL's commercial objectives in launching the manifesto? What do you expect to gain from it?

A: The manifesto represents DNV GL's commitment to cutting cost in the offshore wind sector. We believe in a global, long-term, cost-competitive offshore wind sector and these are our pledges to help achieving this. Clearly we cannot do it alone. Only by working together can this industry achieve its vast potential.

Q: How has the manifesto been received so far, and by whom?

A: The manifesto has been received positively to date, with good attendance at the launch in Hamburg and a large number of downloads and high degree of interest since. An exciting thing has been the range of interest from countries all around the world.

It is another sign that the offshore wind sector is going global, which can only be a good thing.

Q: How responsive can the offshore wind sector be with this manifesto, given that many projects have already been committed or are progressing?

A: The 14 pledges that we make cover the whole lifecycle, so even if a project is operational they could still benefit.

For instance, having a better understanding of the performance of crew transfer vessels through sea trials can help developers choose the right vessel for the job and plan maintenance more effectively.