In order for the UK offshore wind energy market to capitalise on its initial growth and success, investment in technology and R&D innovation across all elements of the turbine lifecycle is essential, according to Andy Poon CEO at Romax - something also supported by He Dexin, chairman of the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA).
Offshore wind energy is poised for rapid growth within the UK, in light of major financial investment from the Government to drive renewable energy. Evidence from this can be seen via research from the EWEA, which recorded that 45 per cent of new European offshore wind turbines were installed around the UK, with 12 more offshore projects currently under construction.
Romax currently provides monitoring services for approximately 40 per cent of all offshore wind turbines in the UK and Poon believes that in light of the Government’s continual support of offshore wind energy, it’s imperative that the industry takes the bull by the horns and drives innovation:
“The UK is currently the best country in the world to invest in offshore wind. We have the longest coastline of any country in Europe and the highest wind speeds, so this is a renewable resource, which can play a significant role in powering Britain's future. In order for this to continue, innovation in technology and R&D is essential to ensuring future growth.
“Innovation is not just consigned to production and design but must include other elements of a wind turbine life cycle including operations and maintenance (O&M).
“Currently 75 per cent of post-production spend is related to a site’s O&M and through investment in technology we have been able to address concerns through the creation of condition monitoring systems and data analytics, enabling us to identify faults easier.
“Core to driving this is continual investment in R&D – the data received from this allows us to build more robust turbines and ultimately ensure the continual growth of renewable energy.”
Dexin, who visited Romax as part of a tour across the UK focused on advancing wind energy development, echoed these sentiments: “The UK is in the midst of a major energy infrastructure transformation and offshore wind energy is very much at the forefront playing an integral role.
“We welcome the views of Romax and believe that central to driving the industry is continual investment in R&D and technology – in doing so we provide stronger, more resilient turbines which not only meet but exceed their life cycles – the data received allows us to improve production and ultimately drive greater efficiency across the industry.
For Romax, which has been at the forefront of the wind energy market for 25 years, Dexin is quick to praise siting its ability to continue to push R&D: “The growth being seen across the wind energy market can only come to light through the hard work of organisation’s like Romax. Its commitment to driving technical innovation to improving reliability and profitability of current and new generation multi megawatt wind turbines is a testament to the industry, which will only be furthered by its move to its new offices.
“The expansion will enable it to continue pushing the boundaries of R&D across simulation technology, ultimately accelerating the development of its exciting portfolio of new products and services, especially those focused on wind energy. Also, combined with its continued desire to promote green energy, notably by using the latest sustainable and environmentally friendly building technologies, as well as aiming to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating for the project, Romax is clearly demonstrating the forward thinking necessary to drive success.”
As part of Dexin’s visit to Romax he was also given a tour of its new building, which will be officially opened on 18th June 2014.