13 Jun 2017

Global Wind Day 2017: Offshore wind and everyday life

Interview with Thor Ugelvig Petersen, Head of Department, Ports & Offshore Technology

Global Wind Day is a global event that falls on 15 June annually to mark the importance of wind energy.

DHI has been working with offshore wind technology since 1991 when the world’s first offshore wind farm was constructed in Denmark. We continue to stay at the forefront of offshore wind energy development, with involvement in more than 85% of the commissioned offshore wind farms in Europe today.

We ask Thor Ugelvig Petersen, head of the Ports & Offshore Technology department, to tell us more about DHI’s activities in the offshore wind industry.

Thor Ugelvig Petersen, Head of Department, Ports & Offshore Technology at Offshore Wind Energy 2017. © DHI

Question #1:
The DHI team attended Offshore Wind Energy 2017 – the world’s biggest offshore wind event in London last week. Tell us about your experience!

DHI participated in the major event from 6-8 June to showcase, present and discuss our services and solutions within the offshore wind industry.

The outlook of the offshore wind industry is set with ambitious goals detailed by roadmaps in the individual countries driving the industry forward. The European market has been active since 1991 with the first offshore wind farm in Denmark, and through the following decades, research and development within technical capabilities has pushed the subsidised industry to new market standards with reduced Levelised Cost of Energy (LCoE). Today, and on the lips of everybody attending the event, the newly awarded and subsidy-free wind farms in the German Bight of the North Sea, shows how far offshore wind energy has come, now providing green and renewable energy to many citizens in EU and internationally.

Indeed, Offshore Wind Energy 2017 was a very active conference and exhibition, where many companies offered new and exciting standards to their services. DHI was part of that wave and released our ‘MetOcean Data Portal’ (beta release here - please use Chrome browser) offering on-demand access to reliable and accurate metocean data and analytics worldwide. In addition, we featured our multi-sensor bird detection system (MUSE), a cost-effective way of performing automated and 24/7 detection of bird movements in an offshore wind farm to comply with emerging environmental regulations. 

Also, environmental impact assessment and monitoring was a key topic – that includes DHI’s services within modelling of underwater noise and water quality. 

Visitors left our booth full of ideas and impressed with what we have to offer. This is the heart of DHI to add value to our clients and their clients, and by those means, support industrial developments through our knowledge and experience.

Question #2:
How does the subject of offshore wind affect everyday people? What does it have to do with you and me?

Renewable energy from offshore wind is an important part of the everyday life in a modern society, where the electricity generated by the offshore turbines may provide millions of homes with green and C02 emission free energy. For example, in Denmark there are days when the energy consumption are completely covered by wind energy, and in turn this offers a viable and effective alternative to energy obtained from fossil fuels, for instance.

The awareness about the global responsibility for reducing the emission of greenhouse gasses is on everybody’s mind, and I believe that people are genuinely proud to be part of the travel towards a greener future.  For me, the offshore wind farms are great landmarks showing the commitment of our societies to mitigate climate change, and knowing that DHI has been part of this journey from the beginning is truly unique. 

At the same time, the demand for marine resources and space is increasing and there are environmental aspects that need to be considered, especially regarding migrating birds and marine mammals.

Question #3:
DHI is expanding its services in the offshore wind industry. Why is this an important focus area? 

Societal awareness and political ambitions to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses and in turn mitigate climate change drives the transitions in the provision of energy to renewables. DHI’s role is to support development towards a sustainable energy provision for countries around the world, by offering technical excellence in hydraulic and hydrodynamic challenges. DHI has the knowledge and services to offer the industry, and has often been selected as a trusted advisor for areas such as foundation principle for the offshore turbines.

Question #4:
What are some of DHI’s latest activities in offshore wind?


The planning and design of offshore structures is complex, and it involves a large number of engineering disciplines to facilitate an optimised and effective layout. The wind-turbine foundations are often subject to harsh environmental conditions such as strong tidal currents and large waves in deep waters, which complicates the matter. 

DHI services many important and ambitious clients within the offshore wind sector with versatile solutions, scientifically based and specialised services; and provides expert advice for the flow-structure-seabed interaction. The services involves technical disciplines such as metocean modelling, load and response of structures and scour, to mention a few.

We are recently and presently involved in areas around Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, France, Taiwan, US East Coast and China.

Question #5:
Out of these activities, which gets you most excited to talk about, and why?

At the moment, the offshore industry is challenged with handling and utilising big data effectively; and here the digitalisation of the market is key in the future developments. 

I’m thrilled about the launch of our MetOcean Data Portal, but it’s hard to just choose one project to talk about! The on-demand metocean data delivery is aimed for design, maintenance and operation in the offshore wind industry, the marine oil and gas industry and for other coastal and marine projects. Imagine having access to +37 years (1979-2017) of reliable and accurate metocean data anytime you need it. That’s a winner to me for sure.

Read more about metocean database solutions here and access the beta release of the MetOcean Data Portal (please use Chrome browser): http://www.metocean-on-demand.com/.

On top of this, I am also excited about DHI’s forecast services providing five-day forecasts of all the relevant metocean parameters that are required during both construction and operation. 

The DHI team at the Offshore Wind Energy 2017 event from 6-8 June in London. From left: Henrik Skov, Nick Elderfield, Matthew Easton, Mikael Kamp Sørensen, Maziar Golestani and Thor Ugelvig Petersen. © DHI

Live demonstration of the MetOcean Data Portal http://www.metocean-on-demand.com/ (note: please use Chrome browser). © DHI