Using existing expertise and innovative new data management software to ease teething troubles in the offshore sector is the way forward in Scotland’s renewable energy journey, says Mike Allan, Global Director, Operational Support, at Xodus

The Herald: Sharing, adapting and employing skills and knowledge across energy sectors will invariably be one of the key foundations on which a successful transition will be built. 

Oil and gas has a long and storied history of delivering astonishing projects at scale and it is these learnings that the energy sources of the future – wind, solar, hydrogen etc – must leverage in order to deliver net zero by 2050. 

After a buoyant few years, the offshore wind sector is now having to contend with various trials and tribulations. 

Some of these are the result of short-term shocks and changing market conditions, but others are simply part and parcel of a sector on the cusp of exponential growth. 

It is here that the experiences of an established, adjacent sector can be invaluable.
Xodus’ XAMIN platform – a collaborative software that houses all our asset support solutions – was designed in partnership with our oil and gas clients to assist with their data and decision management. 

It is the result of Xodus’ 18 years of problem solving and, by bringing vast quantities of information under one roof, has been proven to optimise asset performance, manage efficiencies and enhance workflows. 

As a tried and tested solution, it is the perfect companion to help offshore wind, which remains a nascent industry despite its major progress, to swiftly deal with its teething issues.

In developing XAMIN, we predicted that many of the lessons taken from working in a highly regulated sector, particularly around subsea and 
topside integrity, are the same lessons the offshore wind sector is now facing up to. 

It was this line of thinking that inspired the development of XAMIN Permits, a solution built by experts, based on outcomes from traditional energy projects and informed by multiple disciplines.

As in oil and gas, offshore wind consenting is an extremely complex and time-consuming process that involves a multitude of stakeholders. 

It can be a daunting proposition and it doesn’t set the pulses racing quite like the images of a wind farm under construction, but it’s no less important and is a crucial step that all developers must make. 

Consenting needs to be managed and executed correctly, otherwise the UK’s ambitious offshore wind targets will remain just a light in the distance. 

XAMIN Permits traces and enhances the compliance management aspects of offshore wind developments. 

It cuts out spreadsheets – which can become dense and confusing as projects progress – and creates a complete, online data dashboard that can be accessed by multiple users at once. 

In doing so XAMIN Permits places less responsibility on individuals, while also creating a link between personnel onshore and offshore, empowering workers at all levels of business

This connection between multiple end points is crucial. 

Wind farms are often dozens of miles from shore and are only going to get further, meaning there are many more stakeholders involved. Moreover, and somewhat ironically, the sector currently has to jump through far more environmental hoops than established industries. 

With more requirements comes more potential for legal action. 

Should this happen, then developers need to be able to show their workings; a record of their activity to prove the full circle of competence and compliance, both environmental and technical. 

It is here that XAMIN Permits comes into its own.

Central to our full suite of XAMIN products is allowing users to prove that they have made a plan and assessed risk right across the full lifecycle of development. 

XAMIN Permits collects and stores data from early site investigation, through construction and O&M, and ultimately to decommissioning, ensuring compliance with all consent and licence conditions along the way. 

During the operational phase of projects specifically, XAMIN Permits acts as a vehicle for improvement and productivity. 

Legacy information is fed into the integrity system, allowing for more accurate decision making and increased uptime, meaning stakeholders can maximise the return on their investment.  

‘Collaboration’ is a word that is often thrown around the energy industry, but by bridging gaps between teams, stakeholders and project phases, XAMIN Permits can be the basis for turning talk into action. 

The oil and gas sector has already felt the benefits of this and there is now the opportunity to bring best practice to the fore once more to help smooth the journey of offshore wind and, in turn, the energy transition.