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Why Quality is Key for FLOW development

(June 2023)

Alex Green – Engineering Lead, Flotation Energy

Earlier this year I presented to the Chartered Quality Institute’s Renewable Energy Special Interest Group on the importance of quality in the development of floating offshore windfarms. Quality is integral to the successful development of our projects, so I jumped at the opportunity to share my knowledge and the Flotation Energy processes with the Chartered Quality Institute.

As the Engineering Lead for our White Cross floating offshore windfarm, ensuring that the windfarm infrastructure meets the necessary quality standards is a central part of my role. The importance is twofold; firstly, making sure each component is certified provides confidence that they will work reliably, secondly, certification is needed to make sure lenders can invest in the project before the key Financial Investment Decision (FID) milestone.

Offshore wind turbines and their foundations are complex systems comprised of many different components which are designed and built by multiples parties. This makes the quality landscape a complicated but very interesting one, with several different certification standards and bodies involved at various milestones of a project. Over the past 10 years the interest in, and deployment of, offshore wind turbines has rapidly increased. This has led to continuous technological development and increases in turbine sizes requiring a continuous process of development, testing and certification.

With the advent of floating offshore wind this becomes even more complex. We are now working with ever growing turbines which result in increasingly large floating substructures. There are many floating substructures concepts available to developers at varying technology readiness levels (TRL) making it vitally important that quality is ensured throughout the design and testing stages to ensure they are ready for deployment in pre-commercial scale projects (≤ 100MW).

This brings a risk to the project as certification and technology development of the components will be running in parallel to the project timeline. The interface between the turbine and floating substructure is critical to the success of the project making the Integrated Loads Analysis (ILA) conducted in the design phase very important. Engaging with certification bodies for 3rd party review of the designs from an early stage is essential.

At Flotation Energy we have several processes in place to make sure that all our suppliers meet the necessary quality standards including pre-qualification questionnaires, due diligence assessments and supplier audits. Each of these processes are in line with our ISO 9001 certification.

It is a very interesting time to be involved in the offshore wind quality industry. There is still a lot of development work required to make sure that the design of floating offshore wind structures deliver optimum outputs and therefore lots to do to ensure they meet quality standards.

For any further information relating to this please contact me at: hello@whitecrossoffshorewind.com

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