The Renewable Energy Magazine interviewed Dr R. V. Ahilan following the LOC Group and WavEC partnership announcement.
Below is an extract from the interview, to read the full article go to the Renewable Energy Magazine website.
How does the UK offshore sector look at the moment and how would you assess its future potential? I think it is looking good. The UK continues to produce the largest amount of electricity from offshore wind of any nation in the world and we are pressing forward now with new floating technologies as well. I consider the UK’s immediate future to be good in this regard, but I also expect it to be overtaken by other countries and continents in the longer term in terms of capacity and technology as these countries realise the wisdom of investing in in offshore power stations.
What is the main aim behind this partnership with WavEC? The main aim is to provide frontier technology for floating wind. To do this, we will be drawing on a combination of LOC’s heritage and long-established marine expertise and WavEC’s first-hand operations of marine energy production from wave energy and its design expertise in ocean energy arrays. We are cementing a relationship that started with our marine warranty survey provision and WavEC’s engineering and analysis support for WindFloat.
Where else does LOC operate besides the UK? The LOC Group as a whole operates across the world’s major energy centres, with offices strategically located in Europe, Africa, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. This global presence allows us to deliver cutting edge marine technical expertise to offshore wind developers across the globe, especially in the emerging offshore markets of Asia. In particular, since undertaking our first renewable energy project in 2002, we have built on our oil and gas and maritime expertise to expand our renewables capabilities to the point where we have now provided services to more than two thirds of Europe’s offshore wind farms.
Which markets in the world would you say have the most potential for your services? We are well established in Europe where to date most of the offshore wind development has taken place. But we are looking forward to rapid expansion in Asia and in the US. In the short term, we see massive potential in France’s offshore wind market, but in the longer term, and subject to the political climate, the US will likely become another key area of focus for us. An especially interesting area of work for LOC maybe floating wind in the Mediterranean Sea, as waves here are relatively small and winds can be high and persistent.
What technological innovations and developments do you expect to see in, say, five years’ time? We expect to see floating wind taking a commercial hold. Turbine technologies and yard fabrications at scale will both make big strides forward. Up to now innovation has focused mainly at the turbine level, and while we expect this to continue, we also anticipate a lot of the focus to shift towards technologies that improve wind farms as a whole. Electrical transmission will see increasing innovation to accommodate the inevitable move towards high voltage and high current transmission as bigger and bigger turbines are built on floating platforms, further from the coast.