Nick Terry, Head of WTG Substructures, shares his thoughts on SLPE’s key achievements and challenges over the past year.
Looking back over 2022, I can’t help concluding that SLPE has had an outstanding year. Our ongoing commitment to cutting-edge design and collaborative working has continued to impress our clients and has enabled us to make a significant contribution to the renewable energy industry. In addition, I am proud that we have maintained our focus on staff wellbeing and development, while setting out a refreshed company vision and building market awareness.
Inch Cape Offshore Wind Farm WTGs
Our largest project over the year in terms of staff-hours was the ongoing Detailed Design of monopile foundations for the Inch Cape offshore wind farm project. This industry-leading project involves designing foundations for the new Vestas 15MW V236 turbines in water depths of up to 58m. The site conditions are highly variable, which poses a significant challenge in terms of geotechnical design and installation. Nevertheless, the project is progressing successfully, and our work has been highly appreciated by both developer ICOL and WTG supplier Vestas.
As with many projects, proactive management of design interfaces has been required due to associated project packages being at different stages of development. SLPE has provided active support in this area by working closely with our client to identify and manage risks associated with availability of interface information. We have also been able to leverage our industry knowledge and experience to fill information gaps and have developed designs that are adaptable enough to handle evolving interface requirements.
The use of monopiles at this site, instead of jackets, has delivered a significant saving on LCOE for the project, and has been made possible by our cutting-edge monopile design and optimisation capabilities. We are looking forward to continuing to support ICOL during 2023, as the project progresses towards fabrication and installation.
Significant Contribution to Renewable Energy
In 2022, we worked on projects set to deliver 6.2 GW of renewable electricity, equivalent to powering around 9.6 million homes. As a team, we increased the geographical spread of our projects, including multiple projects in Irish waters and one off the East Coast of the USA. These projects involved designing monopiles in a range of configurations, as well as 3-leg and 4-leg jackets, for turbines up to 21MW. Turbine models were developed using our in-house WTG aero-elastic analysis capabilities, and we continue to build on our success with MonoPoly, our purpose-built bespoke software that delivers highly efficient and optimised monopile designs at all phases of design.
Our OSS projects have been successful too, with the installation of St Brieuc OSS jacket and topsides in St Malo Bay, France, and the Hollandse Kust (west Alpha) jacket installation in the Dutch North Sea, which is the second and largest jacket out of the three in the Hollandse Kust series. We continue to deliver multiple Concept, FEED and Detail Designs each year for substation foundations, and it is always a pleasure to support our parent company Smulders on these projects.
Company Vision and Market Awareness
As well as successes with new projects and technology, we have also affirmed our commitment to work solely on renewable energy projects, formalising what has been the de facto strategy for a number of years. 2022 saw SLPE develop an updated and progressive vision for the company, supported by the four aspects of our mission statement: technological innovation, collaborative working, continuous development, and being the best place to work in our sector. Our vision and mission statement set the direction and ethos of the company for the coming years and is something that we are proud to be putting into practice.
The updated company vision was reflected in the complete top-to-bottom update of our company website during 2022. Market awareness is increasing, with visitors to the website up by 84% compared to 2021 and a 28% increase in social media followers. Our reputation is spreading within the industry, and we are seeing increased demand from both existing and new clients. It is great to see the sense of excitement and optimism within the team and being able to share this with our clients.
SLPE has made significant strides in its commitment to delivering innovative and sustainable engineering solutions over the past year. We continue our ethos of being fair, friendly, and flexible towards our staff and clients alike, while pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation in the offshore renewables industry. We are looking forward to continuing this progress during 2023 and contributing towards a brighter and more sustainable future!
Nick joined SLPE in 2021 as Head of Wind Turbine Generator (WTG) Substructures. He is an engineering manager and principal structural/mechanical engineer with more than 10 years’ experience in the design and analysis of monopiles and jackets for offshore wind farms. Find out more about Nick.