Wind Energy Update: Workforce Competence Concerns for Offshore Wind Projects

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As offshore wind projects become larger in size and further offshore the teams involved in their construction will grow significantly. Each project will be phased into separate stages which in turn will create subsets of workers. The issue which arises is the effective management of the entire workforce’s competence.

Currently there are 4,700 offshore wind turbines planned to be installed in the North Sea (capacity of 21,400 MW) and 508 turbines in the Baltics (capacity of 2,368 MW). Germany has already seen the completion of Alpha Ventus and BARD1 wind farms, both of which used some of the most advanced wind power equipment operational today.

However, as planned offshore wind projects become larger in size and further offshore the developers and contractors who have been scheduled to start construction work face a new problem - a catch-22 situation. For developers the challenge will be to keep projects moving in line with schedules when there is a lack of clarity on the profiles of the workers needed in order to reach their deadlines. For the contractors, the issue arises from the need to document and then prove a team’s capability in advance of the projects scheduled construction start date.

Jon Harman, Head of Offshore Business at Wind Energy Update comments “the difficulty will be building competence in a way which allows for transfer of teams between projects and meeting the regional legislative demands as well as company expectations on multiple, varied projects and stages of projects.”

“If this is not planned for and handled appropriately, there will be a bottleneck in supply of workers every time a project transitions to a new phase or when teams are required for a different project or region” Harman continues.

The solution is for a clear, concise, organised and structured framework to be established, which can be both monitored and mapped for the workforce. This will mean that the competencies required can be rolled out in advance and built to be future proofed. In turn this will allow projects to meet timescales, free from struggle, so that the right teams are placed at the right time.

There are lesson to learn from Oil & Gas in this respect. A recent example is the IADC (International Association of Drilling Contractors), who have just announced the establishment of a new competence framework for that industry, designed to meet the similar challenges that they are facing.

In light to these concerns Wind Energy Update, the leading wind energy think tank, explored the matter in more depth and quickly learnt that the offshore wind industry in united in their views on contract management and workforce competence. These subjects will therefore feature heavily as a part of the agenda in the Offshore Wind Construction, Installation and Commissioning conference (OWCIC), now returning for a 4th year.

This leading B2B event will examine the critical issues that face major players in the wind industry face in the construction of their offshore assets. This construction specific conference will bring together the key developers, utilities, contractors, government representatives, and many more. Confirmed participants include EDF Energy, EDP Renewables, Dong Energy, E.ON Climate & Renewables, Vattenfall, BARD, RWE Innogy, C-Power, TenneT, and 50 Hertz.

For more information, visit: w.windenergyupdate.com/farshore-installation/index.php

Jon Harman
Head of Offshore Business | Wind Energy Update
7-9 Fashion Street, London, E1 6PX, UK
T: +44 (0) 20 7375 7577 (Global) / 1 800 814 3459 ext. 7577 (USA Toll Free)
E: jon(at)windenergyupdate(dot)com

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Jon Harman
Wind Energy Update
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