Interview: Wave and tidal could become a global export industry

Interview Wave and tidal could become a global export industry

Harland and Wolff, a shipyard based in Belfast, has used their marine construction experience to assist in the development and manufacture of a wide range of marine renewable energy devices including wind, wave and tidal power generators.

Tidal Energy Today has interviewed Mr. Patrick Crampsey, H&W Sales Manager, to bring us up to speed on H&W renewables undertakings.

TET: Dear Mr. Crampsey can you tell us more about the marine renewable energy services Harland and Wolff offers?

Crampsey: Harland and Wolff have over 150 years’ experience in marine engineering and fabrication and have a strong position in the ship repair and O&G markets. Since our diversification over 15-years ago we have been very successful offering our engineering and manufacturing services to offshore renewable developers. For ocean energy owners and developers we provide skilled steel-working and outfitting fabrication and detail design engineering services.

SR2000 at H&W facility
SR2000 at H&W facility

TET: H&W is currently assembling Scotrenewables Tidal Power’s SR2000 tidal turbine at your facilities in Belfast. What is the current status of the assembly process?

Crampsey: The project is going very well with completion expected shortly this summer. The synergies of both designer and builder working hand-in-glove is priceless, and will repay itself ten-fold in future build programmes. Both Companies have great cooperation and are flexible towards the project needs. H&W intend to further develop our production strategies that will have interesting results for other ocean energy developers.

TET: Aside from Scotrenewables Tidal Power, is H&W performing services for other wave and tidal energy developers at the moment?

Crampsey: There are a number of opportunities we are pursuing, all at various states of maturity, but all are bound by confidentiality agreements so must remain anonymous. We have been banging a drum for a long time that device designers need to engage with fabrication experts as early as possible in order that cost savings conceptualised on paper become a steel-born reality.

TET: What separates H&W from other similar companies that offer services in the field of marine renewables?

Crampsey: We have a fantastic engineering and production capability, with a well-run QHSE management systems and the best load-out facilities an Owner could possible want. We are prepared to invest in our facility to meet the Owner needs and to ensure a competitive priced, technically compliant product. We are really practiced at what we do, we do it well and always deliver the best achievable solution to the client.

SeaGen in H&W dock

TET: In 2007, H&W was contracted by Marine Current Turbines (MCT) to conduct assembly works for their SeaGen tidal turbine. Earlier this year, Atlantis Resources acquired MCT with its intellectual property, seabed rights and existing projects. Atlantis stated that it might resume Anglesey Skerries tidal project that would feature an array of 5 SeaGen devices.

Considering H&W’s previous experience with SeaGen tidal technology, will H&W be bidding for the Skerries project assembly contract if Atlantis decides to resume the project?

Crampsey: It seems like yesterday that SeaGen was loaded out from our main dock. It’s great to see Atlantis taking SeaGen onto the next phase of its development. We are experienced in the product and are in a perfect location, although of course Atlantis have a preferred supplier status with Nigg Energy Park. However if the Skerries project is resumed and the wider UK supply base are invited to tender then we would be delighted to provide a competitive priced solution.

TET: The UK is one of the countries with the highest tidal energy development potential, as well being a country with the highest number of planned tidal energy projects, according to figures published by Atlantis Resources. Being located in the UK, what efforts is H&W taking to seize the advantages its location is offering?

Crampsey: We are very well known in the market place and we have had most of the major players visit our facilities to discuss their projects and how H&W fit into their supply strategies. We can configure our vast facility to whatever suits the Owner, from a small corner of the workshop to a full blown serial production complete with bespoke production equipment and lean manufacturing fabrication aids. We will keep on making new connections and encouraging developers to discuss their fabrication plans with our expert workshop.

TET: As Sales Manager at H&W, you’re responsible for winning new contracts in the renewable energy market. Which projects are in store for H&W?

Crampsey: With the industry being reformed and streamlined into commercial realities the opportunities that remain are more likely to become a success. We wouldn’t want to speak too soon but we are quietly confident of some exciting wave and tidal prospects being developed that will see H&W play a central role.

TET: Tidal and wave energy sectors are currently in their pre-commercial stage. How do you think the sectors will develop in the future and what can be done to accelerate their development?

Crampsey: There are high expectations of ocean energy, much of which is a repercussion from offshore winds’ efforts to achieve the lowest cost of energy. That is a tough ask for a fledgling industry and it’s important that technological creativity is not stifled by an accountants view of the bottom line figure. We have got to remember that wave and tidal could become a global export industry. It’s not just the complete device that will be exported, the components, systems and O&M will be a source of on-going revenue.

If we wait for the power generation technology, and all its associated bits and pieces, to organically grow then we may miss the opportunity. Our present system of OEMs’ becoming project developers financed from public and private funding serves the developed technologies very well.

However will private investors have an appetite for the more unusual new technologies? H&W involvement in the Carbon Trust offshore wind accelerator programme provided an insight into how government involvement can make a significant difference, turning a good idea into a commercial product.

TET: Is there anything else you would like add?

Crampsey: Our ocean is a fantastic source of energy, we just have to figure out how to make it viable.

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Interview prepared by Amir Garanovic

Images: Harland and Wolff/Scotrenewables Tidal Power