Advantage OW – RCG’s offshore wind technology and innovation catalyst

Advantage-OW is RCG’s proprietary framework for assessing new technologies and innovation in offshore wind and helps clients quickly and effectively understand the risks and opportunities of a given technology. Leveraging RCG’s cross-cutting expertise in the sector, clients receive world-class, objective advice to inform decision making.

The offshore wind industry’s continued downward cost curve is one of the great success stories in worldwide renewable energy development. Its emergence as a reliable and cost-efficient energy generation technology has led to uptake in new markets as well as a change in approach from those early adopter markets to help keep a downward pressure on costs. The general trend with governments worldwide is to turn to auction mechanisms as a way to either portion up the seabed, provide access to offtake agreements or both. In light of this new world and increased competition, offshore wind developers need to find the edge to submit a winning bid and technology and innovation is coming into its own as a way of securing this edge.

Innovation strategy is an essential tool for technology development and growth.

This is a trend of recent auctions, confirmed with Crosswind’s successful award of Hollandse Kust Noord in the Netherlands, where innovation will be front and centre in the development of a commercial offshore wind farm. Cost isn’t the only area where innovation helps developers win, but other levers can be pulled depending on the criteria of different auctions. For example, innovation can help with local content requirements which are becoming increasingly common, or it can help prove to regulators a commitment to the market and a potential trajectory for the industry in its region.

Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) are recognised as a planning tool for innovation management (see RCG’s Innovate-to-Market workflow [↑] ).  Technology Readiness Levels were originally developed by NASA, later used by US-DOD, US-DOE, ESA; now adopted by the European Union for technology funding. However, adaptation is needed to ensure proper decision-making processes when using any Technology Readiness Level scale. The difficulty is turning this approach into a practical tool in a competitive market.

RCG saw an opportunity to help the industry better understand and assess innovation and technology and created the Advantage-OW framework to assess the potential of a given technology:

  • Technology Readiness Level (TRL) – Assessment of the technology and commercial readiness level for the required application.
  • Technical – Technical assessment including engineering and logistical improvements or challenges.
  • Environmental – How the environment might be impacted by the innovation.
  • Supply Chain – Reviewing the supply chain required to deliver the technology.
  • Codes – Standards, regulations, and legal implications.
  • Health, Safety, Environment (HSE) – Potential HSE improvements or additional HSE risks associated with this new technology.
  • Organisation – Research into the organisation behind the technology and their track record.
  • Outlook – Future trends in different markets that affect the potential for deployment of this technology.
  • Levelised cost of energy (LCoE) – The confidence in LCoE predictions.

RCG provides the client with a suite of deliverables for an in-depth understanding as well as summaries and graphics to help communicate the outcomes to their business.

The framework not only encourages offshore wind developers to start thinking about innovation more systematically at the outset of project development, but it also provides a repeatable way of assessing innovation that can be used across a portfolio of projects and helps communicate often technically complex matters, distilling them into an informative but understandable format to help make decisions. In equal measure, the framework can be leveraged by investors to scope out potential investment opportunities quickly and effectively or can be utilised by public sector bodies looking to maximise return on rate-payers’ money by investing in the most promising innovations to achieve their objectives.

The Advantage-OW framework can be applied not only by offshore wind developers in assessing technologies for projects or portfolios, but also prospective technology investors to scope out future investments, and public sector bodies requiring a robust and transparent framework to assess funding opportunities in offshore wind.

To discuss how RCG can help you to maximise the benefits from new technology and innovations in offshore wind, contact us directly.

Download the full white paper.

Advantage OW - White Paper

Michael Stephenson

Associate Director