Autumn 2016

Under the surface with: Charlotte Golding

Research intern, Charlotte Golding, explains what its like working with JFMS on the Galloper Offshore Wind Farm project.

With the £25 million Galloper contract won by James Fisher earlier this year now underway, an efficiency review project has been set up to investigate cost optimisation during construction. We meet the intern undertaking the study to find out more.

Tell us a bit about yourself:

Although I have a degree in accountancy with law and subsequent work experience in analysis-based roles, I have always been a renewable energy enthusiast with a strong interest in the environment, so I decided to go back to university to study energy engineering with environmental management. I have been very lucky to get the chance to complete my MSc at UEA (University of East Anglia) with a 12-week work placement with James Fisher Marine Services, working with the Galloper wind farm construction team. My work and research findings will go towards a 10-12,000 word dissertation and, I hope, will have a long-term impact on wind farm construction in the future.

What is your project about?

The focus of my work with JFMS, which started in June and ran until the end of August, has been optimising costs for the temporary power supply used offshore during a wind farm's construction phase to power a variety of offshore equipment. I've been based predominately at the offshore construction co-ordination base in Lowestoft which is the central hub for the massive Galloper offshore wind farm off the coast of Suffolk.

The temporary power supply is provided by generators located offshore on wind turbine platforms. These generators need to be selected, installed, refuelled, maintained and ultimately removed when the turbines become active. My project is to develop tools to manage this process as cost-effectively as possible, by taking into account the varying power demands at different times which can be met by different generator sizes.

The rationale behind this investigation is the fact that offshore wind is currently more expensive to generate than other renewable sources and this sector faces official targets to reduce costs by 30-40% by 2020. My work is part of a bigger push to ensure offshore wind is competitive long-term by reducing operations and maintenance costs.

What has your job involved?

I have been working alongside the JFMS Galloper project team including project engineer, Alex Hoss, offshore site manager, Philippe Girault, and my mentor and project manager, David Smail.

As part of my placement to aid both the JFMS project team and my studies, I have been attending meetings with various contractors and going on off-site visits to assess various generators, carrying out site acceptance tests and sorting the relevant documentation.

Were you the only student there?

I was joined for part of my internship by students from Lowestoft Sixth Form College who are piloting the East Coast Energy internship scheme. The pair (Felicity Levett, 19 and Joel Pointon, 17), who spent four weeks on research and design projects, are among five students being hosted by Galloper and JFMS on this scheme. This is all part of the pledge to embrace a UK Government directive that all offshore wind projects in UK waters provide 'UK content' (meaning they create UK jobs and help power the UK economy). It means James Fisher has been investing in local industry and potential employees of the future.

In fact, the construction phase of the project is expected to create around 700 jobs and 90 jobs once the wind farm is completely operational.

What does the future hold for you?

In five years time I hope to still be working within the energy sector, hopefully on similar offshore wind projects to this. James Fisher is such a massive company and the team has been brilliant and very supportive. I'd be extremely happy if I got the opportunity to stay within the group.

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