The partnership was funded by the UKRI Prosperity Partnership programme, which specifically aims to support research into real-life problems and issues identified by our industrial partners. As a result, the outputs of the project can be quickly adopted into the research and development and production strategies of the offshore wind sector.
Dr Arwyn Thomas, Industrial Principal Investigator from Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE), one of the world’s leading providers of wind power products and solutions, said: “This collaboration allows SGRE to steer the University to apply its excellent track record for innovation towards real life issues facing the industry. It helps to focus the research into areas that are far more relevant and which will have much more immediate, positive impacts. This, in turn, ensures that our graduate and postgraduate researchers develop the right skills to enter industry and help meet the current skills shortage.”
Dave Bould, Senior Project Representative from Ørsted, which develops, constructs and operates offshore wind farms, said: “ Modern wind turbines are massive structures that, ideally, should last for the entire life of an offshore wind farm without needing replacement or significant maintenance. Replacing a structure of this size in the harsh offshore environment is a very costly and time consuming exercise that results in significant amounts of lost electricity generation.
“Overall, improvements in health monitoring, operations and maintenance helps us to continually drive down the cost of offshore wind energy – savings that are passed on to the consumer.”
It is estimated that the cost of energy from offshore wind farms is now one quarter of what it was in 2009, thanks in part, to advancements made from these types of partnerships.
Another key outcome of the collaboration has been in helping to identify where the next stages of research need to be concentrated, to allow even more improvements to be developed. Funding for a number of follow-on projects has already been secured thanks to the excellent collaboration between all the partner institutions.