RWE announces winners of offshore wind ecology and system competition

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 26/07/2022 RWE

ARC Marine Ltd., Verlume Ltd. and ForWind, the Center for Wind Energy Research at the University of Oldenburg, have won RWE’s first international Innovation Competition. The competition was launched by RWE in November last year and aims to identify innovative solutions to improve the ecological impact of offshore wind farms and to optimise the system integration of offshore wind into the energy grid.

The competition focused on two key areas: ecology and system integration. ARC Marine from England is the winner of the Ecology Innovation and focuses on sustainable cable and scour protection. In the category System Integration, there are two winners: Verlume from Scotland, a company that works on offshore subsea battery systems with integrated intelligent energy management, and ForWind from Germany, which has developed a unique methodology for lidar- and observer-based forecasting of wind power production.

The winners are in close exchange with RWE’s innovation team and will jointly assess opportunities for further developing their solution towards commercialisation. RWE has already included the winners into its bid for the Dutch offshore wind farm Hollandse Kust West site VI and VII and will evaluate the use for other commercial offshore wind projects.

ARC Marine develops solutions to improve the ecosystem impact of offshore wind farms. The company’s scour solution Reef Cubes provide a plastic-free and low-carbon solution for the restoration of marine habitat and biodiversity. RWE stated that reef Cubes produce around 90 percent less CO2 than their concrete counterparts and can be created carbon neutral from the point of manufacture. ARC Marine also develops sustainable marine matts for cable protection at cable crossings. These matts are a concrete-like cable protection that is designed to enhance biodiversity as they are designed to have a surface structure with small cracks and holes, creating habitat for an array of marine life.

Verlume is bringing multi-purpose storage solutions offshore with a subsea lithium-ion battery, which has a modular and scalable design that is expected to lead to a more balanced power output by shaving the peak power production offshore. Beyond preventing grid curtailment, the battery aims to provide multiple offshore services, such as frequency response, black start capability for wind turbines and charging of hybrid or fully electric service vessels. This will enable to further reduce the CO2 footprint of offshore wind farms and associated logistics.

ForWind, the Center for Wind Energy Research at the University of Oldenburg, was selected as winner for the development of a lidar-based power forecasting methodology. RWE claims this has the potential to improve the integration of wind power in future energy systems by accurately predicting ramp rates of wind turbines and supporting grid stability. This can help with securing grid reliability during so called ramp events, sudden and strong changes in power caused by meteorological events leading to a drop or increase of supply. If not predicted accurately, both in timing and amplitude, these can result in critical grid imbalances.

“As one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, RWE promotes the pursuit of innovation in offshore wind energy. To support this ambition, we have launched this Innovation Competition to establish, in addition to our own expertise, refreshing new partnerships with resourceful people and companies. From a large number of high quality applications ARC Marine, Verlume and ForWind, the Center for Wind Energy Research at the University of Oldenburg, emerged as the winners. The winners have devised solutions that help to accelerate the energy transition by creating a positive impact on marine ecology and integrating offshore wind energy into the energy system. We strongly believe in working together in order to make a real difference for the future energy supply,"
said Sven Utermöhlen, CEO Wind Offshore of RWE Renewables