Three of Scotland’s east coast universities are combining their expertise and experience – and advantage of location – to launch a new institute aimed at becoming the recognised global authority on the delivery and implementation of offshore renewable energy.
The Offshore Renewables Institute is a new partnership which brings together experts from different disciplines at the University of Dundee, the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University with the aim of developing and delivering solutions for the offshore wind industry in the North Sea and globally.
ORI will provide effective, practical and timely help to the offshore renewables sector, government and wider society through consultancy, research, policy advice and professional development.
The Institute will be based in Dundee, and the founding director is Professor Paul Mitchell of the University of Aberdeen, who will speak about the initiative in a presentation at All-Energy 2013 on Wednesday May 22, at 11am, Fleming Auditorium, Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.
Professor Mitchell explains the reasoning behind the new academic partnership, saying: “The UK and Scottish Governments have set ambitious targets for 2020 for offshore wind deployment. This presents us with an array of challenges – and not only in terms of the improving technology. We need to look at the environmental impact of such large developments, the legal issues, safety of course – and how we can increase efficiency and reduce costs over the lifetime of a project. We need a variety of experts around these problems, all working together to a common goal.
“We also require people with the skill sets to deliver this industry safely and efficiently in the challenging and hostile environment of the North Sea. That’s an area where we have experience second-to-none, through three decades of producing the workforce for the oil and gas sector.”
The Offshore Renewables Institute will focus specifically on deployment and implementation, rather than technology and equipment. The partnership has identified four main areas of expertise that are particularly relevant to the offshore renewables industry:
- Regulation, Law and Economics - including policy, regulation and finance
- Environment and Consents - covering environmental impact, long-term monitoring, and mitigation strategies
- Design, Fabrication and Installation - including foundations and substructures, geotechnics and access
- Asset Management, covering operations, safety and reliability, and training
Professor Pete Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee said, “This exciting development builds on the fruits of intensive planning involving our three universities and wind industry experts. It will complement work elsewhere in Scotland on turbine manufacture by focussing on areas that can deliver the efficiencies and cost reductions needed to drive the financial viability of this burgeoning industry.”
Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Robert Gordon University, said: "This is a fantastic partnership project which combines the very best of what our institutions have to offer in terms of skills and experience.
"We have strong links with the energy industry and with a renewed focus on offshore renewable energy we are well placed to deliver a globally recognised centre of excellence which will highlight and secure Scotland's role in the next generation of energy production."
Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Aberdeen added: “This is an exciting time for the offshore renewables industry. With our partner universities we share this excitement, and are eager to partner with the industry in the delivery and implementation of these ambitious projects, and to keep the UK at the forefront of generating power from wind.”