Equinor is engaging with the UK offshore wind supply chain to support the development of innovative, technology-led solutions, which can shape the future of the industry post-2025.

As part of this project, Equinor has partnered with UK business development organisation NOF Energy, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and the North East of England’s offshore wind cluster, Energi Coast, to host its first Innovation Day to support the development of O&M concepts of the future.

Utilising the expertise and benefiting from the proven track record of innovation from within the UK supply chain, the developer is contributing by setting the vision, objectives and targets, while giving potential supplier access to its requirements, specifically around projects including Scira, Dudgeon and Dogger Bank.

This approach, which is encouraging early-collaboration between developer and suppliers, enables fresh thinking within the industry to take the first steps towards devising new solutions that will meet evolving, future requirements of the sector, particularly in the field of Operations & Maintenance (O&M).

The initiative also supports the ambitions of the proposed Sector Deal for the UK offshore wind industry, which will support the development of transformative solutions that can be exported globally by British companies.

More than 70 companies from the UK supply chain, including a large cluster from North East England, attended the event, which was held at the Port of Blyth, Northumberland.

With ORE Catapult based in Blyth and the Port considered one of the UK’s leading offshore energy support bases and with many offshore and renewable energy-focused clients based on site, Blyth was an ideal location for the Innovation Day.

Port of Blyth has developed an impressive reputation within the energy sector and is home to a large cluster of leading businesses from the offshore energy industry, many of which are at the heart of technology innovation.

At the event Equinor engaged with businesses from throughout the renewables supply chain, research institutes and universities in an effort to identify new innovative solutions to maximise project value.

The Innovation Day was built around a series of breakout sessions, which focused on key themes including the use of robotics and autonomous systems and the development and application of Digital Twins.

A third breakout sessions looked at predictive maintenance through condition monitoring, predictive analytics and early detection of failure, with the final session focused on integration with the market to maximise the value of every kWh.

Beate Myking, Senior Vice President for Operations in New Energy Solutions at Equinor, said:”Equinor believe in close collaboration with the supply chain to develop innovative solutions for the wind industry. With several upcoming wind projects in the portfolio, with Dogger Bank as the most important one, we are committed to engage with the whole renewables supply chain, research institutes and universities in an effort to identify new solutions. The Innovation Day identified a lot of interesting ideas that can be further explore.”

Halfdan Brustad, Vice-President Renewables at Equinor said: “As part of the Sector Deal with the Offshore Wind Industry Council, of which I am Equinor’s member, we have initiated this event to support the development of the supply chain cluster. It is our contribution to reach out to UK companies as part of the initiative to establish the cluster as a strong, export-led innovative supply chain. I think this event was a good start in achieving this ambition.”

Joanne Leng MBE, Deputy Chief Executive of NOF Energy and Deputy Chair of Energi Coast, said: “As the UK industry gets close to achieving a Sector Deal for offshore wind, approaches such as this from Equinor, one of our Strategic Partners through the Dogger Bank Offshore Wind Farm project, could form an exemplar of how developers can achieve early engagement and collaboration with innovative, technology-led companies.

“The technical expertise and experience that exists within the supply chain is a resource that the global offshore wind industry should tap into, not just for immediate solutions, but also for the development of future technology that can improve O&M operations.”

She added: “Working with Equinor we have seen how keen the developer is to maximise on the depth of UK supply chain innovation, which made the event at Port of Blyth very successful and I hope will be a catalyst for the creation of new technologies and solutions.”

Martin Lawlor, Chief Executive at Port of Blyth, said: “Hosting Equinor’s Innovation Day for offshore renewable energy highlights how far the Port of Blyth and the Energy Central offering in Blyth, that includes the ORE Catapult, has come in the last few years. To have such a high-profile event take place here is testament to the significant cluster of offshore energy related businesses we’ve built here. We’d like to congratulate Equinor and its partners NOF Energy, Energi Coast and the ORE Catapult for the success of the event.”

Tony Quinn, Operations Director at ORE Catapult, said: “The UK is a world leader in offshore wind because we have such an incredibly innovative supply chain. Effective asset management is fundamental to remaining competitive on the global stage, so we are delighted to be bringing Equinor and members of the UK supply chain together today to find solutions to the challenges faced by industry”