Your career inoffshore windSponsored by
ForewordThe UK is the global leader in offshore wind,and the industry is growing. It’s a dynamic,innovative sector with plenty of opportunitiesfor people looking for well-paid, long-term jobsthat make a difference.Cover images: Ørsted, CHC Heli, CHPV, CWind, JDR CablesAs a maritime nation, it’s not a surprise that the UK has trulyembraced offshore wind, backing schemes around our coastlineand signing up to its economic and environmental benefits. Inthe UK alone, we expect the sector to treble in size over the nextdecade. Thousands of people support the construction, operationand maintenance of these clean energy power plants, and thevariety of roles is immense. We are seeing cutting-edge technologybeing developed, including use of artificial intelligence and robotics.The sector is moving forward at a fast pace and needs people withdifferent skills and differing levels of experience to continue to drivethis innovation.The ambition and scale of the industry make offshore wind anexciting place to work. In this industry, people are truly makinga difference in the battle against climate change, supporting theproduction of clean, carbon-free energy which will benefit futuregenerations for years to come. We are a young sector looking toattract enthusiastic, hard-working, committed individuals who careabout what they do. If you think this describes you, use this guideto start your journey into an exciting career. 02Offshore wind: an introduction05Environment and climate change06How big is the offshore wind industry?09The lifecycle of an offshore wind farm10The main elements of an offshore wind farm13Careers in offshore windYour career in offshore wind 01
Offshore wind:an introductionHarnessing wind energy has come a long waysince its humble beginnings in turning mills togrind flour or pump water. Now, we use windto turn generators, converting that energy intoelectricity that runs our homes, schools andworkplaces.The first offshore wind farm, Vindeby, was built in 1991 off thecoast of Denmark. It consisted of eleven small 450kW turbines,each only 35m tall. Since then, wind energy technology has gonefrom strength to strength.The world’s largest wind turbine model currently stands at220m tall, with the span of its three blades covering a surfacebigger than that of the London Eye. Each rotation of theseblades generates enough power to run an electric car for40 miles, or power a household for a full day.As well as turbines getting bigger, we have also seen newcutting-edge technology being development including artificialintelligence and robotics. More of our power is coming fromwind than ever. There are now over 4000 offshore turbines inoperation across the world and the rate of growth is increasingas costs fall and more countries embrace offshore wind.Modern wind turbines are truly giants of the seas. With strongerwinds, away from the hustle and bustle of society, our seasare the perfect place for generating energy. What’s more, thegrowing efficiency of turbines and the increasingly cheap price oftheir parts is driving forward technology and cementing offshorewind as a major international market.02 Your career in offshore wind
The UK, surrounded by water, is a world leader, generatingmore power from offshore wind than any other country. Withcarbon targets to meet, many countries are now turning tooffshore wind to help them reduce dependency on both importsand fossil-fuel derived energy.Image: www. InnogyThe planning, construction and maintenance required for eachwind farm requires talent from a wide range of academicbackgrounds, and the growth of the industry means that thereare more and more opportunities out there. A career in offshorewind means making a difference in a highly skilled sector whichis here for the long term. This is where you come in. It’s not justabout growing an exciting new industry: offshore wind is helpingsteer our planet in a greener, safer direction. We want you to bepart of it. Your career in offshore wind 03
Control systemNacelle coverGeneratorGear boxMain shaftBladeTowerTransition pieceFoundationThe United Kingdom, surrounded bywindy seas, has a fantastic opportunityto make wind energy a major part of itselectricity generation. We are alreadyglobal leaders in the industry. Wind is thecheapest form of energy, and constructionand maintenance of farms can bring awide range of investment and employmentopportunities to coastal towns. Renewableenergy sources such as wind are key inmeeting the UK’s carbon-emission targetsset out in the internationally binding ParisAgreement on climate change.
Environment andclimate changeThe growth of renewable energy as a sourceof power is part of a wider movement to endglobal reliance on fossil fuels.For centuries, the world has been powered by carbon-emittingcoal, oil and gas, polluting our air and water and leading tochanging climate and melting polar ice caps, the results ofwhich we are already seeing today. This is one of the biggestissues facing our planet; how we stand up to the challengewill be the question of our time.Image: CWind, as part of the Global Marine GroupThankfully, you can play your part in solving these problems.We now know how to turn energy created by renewable sources,like wind and solar, into clean and sustainable electricity. Wealso know that investing and supporting the development ofthese technologies can create jobs and opportunities for UKcompanies, delivering wider economic benefits for bothlocal communities and the country. 21 times morepowerful than the windturbines installed 25 yearsearlier in Vindeby.1991 The first offshore windfarm was built near Vindeby,off the coast of Denmark.Hub height and rotordiameter: 35m2001 The first UK offshorewind farm was installed nearBlyth, Vestas V66-2.0MWHub height: 62mRotor diameter: 66m2011 Siemens SWT-3.6MWHub height: to 83mRotor diameter: to 120m— as long as a football field.2016 The next generationoffshore turbine by MHIVestas is the V164-9.5MW.It is bigger than anycommercial turbine so farwith a typical hub heightof 105 metres.Your career in offshore wind 05
How big is the offshorewind industry?Wind farms in the UKDoggerBankThe UK has over 11,000 miles of coastline,yet only a tiny fraction of our seas havebeen allocated for offshore wind. Almostall the seabed off the coast is owned by theGovernment and managed by The CrownEstate or and Crown Estate Scotland whichleases the seabed to developers withthe eventual goal to build and operate anoffshore wind farm.06 Your career in offshore wind
Offshore wind is a growing part of the UK’selectricity mix. By 2020 it will be supplying 10%of our power needs, and this is set to increase to30% by 2030. That means growth inemployment too.More offshore wind farms means a growing supply chain and more siteswhich need maintaining. Some of the growth in jobs will come from theUK selling goods and services abroad too.Bloomberg New Energy Finance anticipates that the global offshore windmarket will grow to 115GW by 2030 – a six-fold increase in 12 years!Countries involved in offshore windIn the UK, there are 11,000 people directly employed in theoffshore wind sector, and this is set to grow to 21,000 by 2030.For every person directly employed, one person is alsoemployed ‘indirectly’, which means they work for companieswhich supply offshore wind companies.Jobs in offshore wind are spread across the UK and especially focusedalong the east coast of Scotland and England. The average age of peoplein our industry is 38 and a quarter of our workforce is under 30, makingour industry younger than the national average. It’s great that we areattracting this young, ambitious workforce into offshore wind. Individualcompanies and the sector as a whole are looking at how best to trainnewcomers, increase diversity and improve gender balance.Compared to the UK as a whole, our industry is also a skilled one withabove-average levels of training and skills. There are significant numbersof technicians, engineers and professionals in our workforce. Your career in offshore wind 07
The lifecycle of anoffshore wind farmThe lifetime of an offshore wind farm can be greater than30 years, from the initial design work to the final decommissioningof a wind farm. There are different stages to this work, anddifferent skills and companies involved at each of these stages.Scoping Sites for offshore wind are identified througha process called ‘scoping.’ There are manyelements involved in site selection, including –unsurprisingly – wind speed, as well as waterdepth, seabed conditions and the impact onlocal people and the environment.A formal consent application is required foran offshore wind site before it can be built.The process of planning a wind farm is usuallycarried out by a company known as a developer.The application will include details of the numberand size of turbines, the location of the windturbines, environmental impact assessments aswell as a host of other considerations lookingat every aspect of building and operating anoffshore wind farm. These applications aresubmitted to the UK Government or ScottishGovernment depending on the location of thesite. The applications can be up to 10,000pages long and are full of details of theprojected environmental and social impactsof the wind farm.08 Your career in offshore windDevelopment
Operation& maintenanceFor 20 years or more, the project willgenerate electricity for the UK’s electricitysystem. The farm will require maintenancethroughout this period to guarantee it is runningefficiently and to prolong its lifespan. Thiscan include routine inspections to look at thecondition of blades, underwater cables andgearboxesImages: Vattenfall, InnogyInstallationAfter a project has been granted itsplanning approval, there are a series ofactivities that take place in preparing asite and manufacturing components forinstallation. One of the first steps in installinga wind turbine is placing a foundation in theseabed. The most common foundation iscalled a monopile which is a steel tube andweighs 600 tonnes. A transition piece is puton top of this which connects the turbine’stower, hub and blades. Decommissioning/ repowering As the majority of offshore wind farms havebeen constructed in the 21st century, jobsin this area will grow in the 2020s and 2030s.As the turbines come to the end of theirnatural life, the developer will decidewhether to decommission or repower(with new turbines). If they are repowered,the cycle starts again. Your career in offshore wind 09
The main elements ofan offshore wind farmThere are a number of different parts that makeup an offshore wind farm both in the sea and onland. All of these different components cometogether to form a fully operational wind farm, withopportunities for you across the life of a wind farm.Onshore electricity substation:Interface between the wind farmand the nation’s electricity gridOperational headquarters:the project control centrePort and docksidefacilitiesJack up barge: a key vessel forinstalling foundations and turbines10 Your career in offshore wind
Offshore electricity substation:collects electricity from the windturbines and sends it onshoreAN ARRAY OF WIND TURBINESCrew transfer, maintenanceand monitoring vesselsConstruction /cable laying vesselYour career in offshore wind 11
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Careers in offshore windImage: ØrstedThere are thousands of people employed in offshorewind, and each person has taken a slightly differentcareer path. Many people come into offshore windfrom other sectors, as many of the roles or skills aretransferable. But the average age of people who workin our sector is below the UK average, which meansopportunities for school leavers and recent graduates.The information included in the following pages willoutline some of the roles in offshore wind and the typesof routes that can be explored to kick start your careerin offshore wind.Your career in offshore wind 13
What can I do with ascientific background?Science is key to wind farms at every stage, but theplanning and development stages in particular draw froma wide range of scientific disciplines in order to determinethe potential effects of a wind farm in a specific location.Consents CoordinatorThe consenting stage is a long process which may require aConsents Coordinator to liaise with engineering teams, regulatoryauthorities and other scientists to ensure the EnvironmentalImpact Assessment is completed to a high standard. To conductthe scientific aspect of the consenting process, developers willoften use specialist consultancy companies who employ a widerange of scientists.Environmental ScientistEnvironmental Scientists play an important role in the process,assisting with the maintenance, preparation and operation ofsurvey equipment, monitoring and interpreting data, samplingand processing of macrofauna. Marine biologists analyse thepotential effects of a wind farm – both the installation andoperation of – on surrounding marine life, including fishand mammals.Geophysicists and OceanographersGeophysicists, on the other hand, look at the logistics ofsecuring a turbine into the seabed. The majority of wind turbinesare installed into the ground. This means that there needs to bean extensive mapping of the shape and depth of the seabed.Physical and Chemical Oceanographers are also required,to determine how the condition of the water might effectthe turbines.Interested?Pursuing science subjects now will be a plus. There arelots of undergraduate degrees available, with furtherpostgraduate courses to further your specialities.14 Your career in offshore wind
What can I do with anengineering background?Engineers from all backgrounds make up a significant proportion ofthe offshore wind workforce. Engineering consists of design, buildingand the use of mechanics and machines – such as wind turbines!Engineers are involved with offshore wind farms at each stage oftheir life cycles.Engineers and Installation ManagersBehind the scenes, Mechanical Engineers and Electrical Engineersplay an important role in the design of wind turbines, exploring waysthat they can generate more electricity at higher levels of efficiency.They will also be onsite to test electrical components of the turbine(including generators, motors and communication systems) duringinstallation and operation, working closely with Junior and Senior WindTurbine Installation Managers. Design Engineers also play an importantrole in developing and research various elements of a turbine, cables,foundations or substations.Installation and maintenance of turbines requires management ofa wide range of machinery, some of which will be controlled remotelyby engineers onshore. The mechanisms and technology involvedin this will be designed, tested and operated in roles such as aControls Systems Engineer.Operations SupervisorThroughout the wind turbines’ life cycle, an OperationsSupervisor will oversee the engineering operations andensure a safe and efficient working environment, anddirect other engineers to issues with the turbines.Interested?Engineering requires a good grasp of maths and sciencesubjects. Some employers may want graduates orpostgraduates. There are also roles through vocationalroutes, including Higher National Certificates and HigherNational Diplomas.Your career in offshore wind 15
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What can I do with aconstruction background?Construction roles are required throughout the building andmaintenance of the wind farm, and speciality in a wide rangeof skills is required, including but not limited to: welders, platers,crane operators and scaffolders.Health and Safety rolesA background in construction is also helpful if you’re interestedin Health and Safety. Working on boats, from the air (and actuallyin the sea!) can be both difficult and dangerous, and companiesalways place the highest priority on employee safety.Training CoordinatorThere are also opportunities to help those around you be the bestthey can be, with roles like Training Coordinator, making sure thatconstruction workers and technicians have the most up to dateand efficient ways to work and are held to superior standards.Image: MHI Vestas Offshore WindDesign Engineers and Electrical TechniciansA vital part of a wind farm is connecting the turbines to eachother and then to bring the electricity generated back to shoreto be exported into the electricity grid. Cables carry electricityfrom the turbines to substations, and from substations back toshore. There are a variety of roles that focus specifically on cablesincluding Design Engineers andElectrical Technicians.Interested?There a wide range of options for anyone interestedin construction, but one of the most popular routes isthrough hands-on experience, which you can get throughvocational courses and apprenticeships.Your career in offshore wind 17
What can I do with abusiness or economicsbackground?Each developer in offshore wind aims to run their company ina smooth and profitable manner. There are plenty of businessand economist roles which contribute to this.Investment AnalystInvestment Analysts are employed by large investors or work asconsultants and advise on project cost, viability, construction risk,long term returns and ensure the offshore wind farm is a soundinvestment proposition.Project EconomistA Project Economist may be employed to ensure that projectsare running efficiently and identifying when there are savings tobe made.Sales ManagerWhen a developer comes to buy or build the many componentsof a wind turbine, a Sales Manager will ensure that they aregetting the best deal, in both cost and quality. These rolesinvolve buying hundreds of millions of pounds worth oftechnical equipment.18 Your career in offshore wind
Offshore CoordinatorOnce the wind farm is up and running, an OffshoreCoordinator will organise the maintenance tasks,monitoring the weather and vessel and technicianavailable to ensure that the work can be completedin a safe and timely manner.Project PlannerA Project Planner will develop and maintain the projectprogramme.Images: OrstedInterested?A degree in a business or economics subject would behelpful for these kind of roles, but it is not a requirementfor all the posts. Universities offer a wide range of businessdegrees, but there are also vocational courses andcertificates which can be undertaken.Your career in offshore wind 19
What about careers instakeholder management?Public Affairs OfficerAs a Public Affairs Officer, your job will be to represent thedevelopers in Westminster. Talking to politicians about, forexample, why they should support an offshore wind projectin their area and explaining the benefits of offshore wind.Policy ManagerA Policy Manager will work closely with their organisation andwith government on the policies that impact the wind energyindustry. This could involve drafting responses to governmentor regulator consultations on specific issues within offshore wind.Stakeholder AdvisorsStakeholder Advisors act as representatives togovernment and local businesses. Their role hasa focus on creating and developing relationshipswith stakeholders both locally and nationally. Interested?A degree-level qualification or equivalent is usually required.Strong communication skills are essential for these rolesincluding experience of presenting technical informationto a wide range of audiences.20 Your career in offshore wind
Our members are building our future energy system,powered by clean electricity. We bring them togetherto deliver that future faster; a future which is better forindustry, billpayers, and the environmentRenewableUKGreencoat House, Francis StreetLondon SW1P 1DH, United KingdomWe are a UK membership body with a mission toensure increasing amounts of renewable electricity aredeployed across the UK.Tel: 44 (0)20 7901 3000Fax: 44 (0)20 7901 3001Web: www.RenewableUK.comEmail: [email protected] support over 400 members to access UK marketsand to export all over the world. Our members arebusiness leaders, technology innovators, and expertthinkers from right across industry.
13 Careers in offshore wind The UK is the global leader in offshore wind, . generations for years to come. We are a young sector looking to attract enthusiastic, hard-working, committed individuals who care . Bank Wind farms in the UK 06 Your career in offshore wind.