Step 2, Preparation:
Engaging with the wind farm operator
Wind Farm Operators (WFO) may get many requests from Multi-Users that want to start in their wind farm. From the WFO perspective each Multi-User will have a different level of professionalism or preparation. Therefore, as soon as you make a request, the WFO will first want to establish your level of professionalism and preparation. Therefore, it will save you and the WFO a lot of time if you can skip this “testing” phase and move straight into the actual alignment talks (i.e. Step3 in this MUP). If you communicate clearly to the WFO that you have followed the guidelines of this step 2 and you can send him the documents that you prepared, then you can start straight away with the relevant alignment discussions. By following the below steps as part of Step2, you will be able to prepare yourself and present yourself as a professional Multi-Use party.
Step 2: Safety first!
Safety comes first, for yourself as well as other stakeholders. Therefore, be clear on how you intend to manage safety for normal operations and during incidents. For you, your staff as well as any other stakeholders. Safety is first and foremost regulated by law. For the relevant legal framework, reference is made to: https://zoek.officielebekendmakingen.nl/stcrt-2017-19863.html . This announcement indicates that the government body “Staatstoezicht op de Mijnen” will be responsible for ensuring adherence to Labour Regulation (Arbeidstijdenwet), Health & Safety (Arbowet) and food safety (Warenwet). In other words, the government body “Staatstoezicht op de Mijnen” (SodM) will ultimately check whether you are complying with the above legal requirements.
Step 2.2: Who, what, how and when?
Step 2.2.1: Who are you?
This sounds trivial but often it is not clear to the Wind Farm Operator (WFO) who they are dealing with. But if you want to make agreements on how you wish to cooperate, then the first step is to get clear who is making an agreement with whom. Therefore, it really helps if you can clarify this to the WFO. Usually a basic set of Powerpoint slides that show the following should be sufficient:
- the setup of your organization (shareholders, holding companies or daughter companies),
- your contact details,
- your role in the organisation,
- your general business case, and
- for how long you intend to be active in the multi-use area.
Step 2.2.2: What are you going to do?
Provide a short and easy to understand explanation for what you intend to do. For guidance, you should not need more than 3-5 Powerpoint slides to explain this. You should also be able to summarise it in one sentence that in theory your great-grandmother would be able to understand. For example: “...basically we will install solar panels in an area of 100ha, connect it to the wind farm and sell the produced electricity to the wind farm owner”. If you find this difficult then this could mean that you need to rethink or revisit the setup of your business plan.
Step 2.2.3: How will you do it?
As part of this step, provide clarification to the WFO on activities needed for your first major installation activities as well as your smaller day-to-day operations. With what vessels, how often and how long do you expect to be in the wind farm. As a guideline, this could include the following documents:
- General arrangement drawings that show your systems and how they are to be installed offshore, in the wind farm.
- Procedures for starting your major activities: installation of your systems, (major) repair of your installations (for example: unplanned maintenance after damage) and to remove your systems from the Multi-Use Area.
- Procedures for the main operational activities, your day-to-day work. For example, for seaweed cultivation this would include activities such as seeding, harvest, planned maintenance, inspections.
Step 2.2.4: When will you do it?
It is useful to separate between two types of activities: the main installation/removal activities for your production systems and the day-to-day operational activities.
- Main installation and removal activities: when do you intend to start with the installation activities/ what season or month, when would you typically perform the removal activities/ what season or month; what are the foreseen durations of these installation/removal activities?
- Day-to-day operational activities: when would you do your main operational activities and how often; how long in advance could you plan this and could it change at the last minute; what are the foreseen durations of these operational activities?
It is recommended to prepare a general time frame for preparation, installation and start of production of your multi-use activity. Furthermore, it will help if you can provide a yearly schedule of your operational, day-to-day activities.
Step 2.3: Compliance with the boundary conditions
Realisation within a wind farm appears to be quite difficult, as entrepreneurs and wind farm owners are now experiencing. This was highlighted in the Multi-Use Work Group. This working group was set up within the Seaweed platform of Stichting Noordzeeboerderij to jointly work on a path forward for multi-use as a seaweed and wind sector.
Almost all offshore wind companies are represented in this Work Group on behalf of the wind sector. The Work Group, which has been meeting regularly since 2018, works on providing more structure to the interaction between wind farm operator and multi-use entrepreneur. Thanks to support from TKI Wind op Zee and the CoP Blue Innovation, this has resulted in the so-called Multi-Use Procedure.
All of these boundary conditions have been summarised in a Boundary Conditions Register for Multi-Use. It is therefore recommended to prepare a document where you indicate for each of these requirements whether it is applicable to your type of Multi-Use activity. If this is the case, then also describe how you will comply with these relevant requirements. The better you are able to demonstrate compliance with these requirements, the less likely it is for the WFO to raise objections to your intended MU-activities.
Step 2.4: Assurances
When you start with new, non-wind related activities in a wind farm then you are effectively starting with Multi-Use. More than one single function/activity in the same area automatically means more risk. It is therefore important to speak openly about these potential risks, to record them in the risk register (see Step 2.2.3) and together try to find solutions to address these risks. As WFO and MUO you are about to become neighbours so it’s best to become good neighbours.
2.4.1: Risk register
One way to properly manage identified risks is via the risk register. This was already referenced in the Step 2.1 on safety and it can also be used for non-safety risks. Record all of the identified risks in the risk register and try to identify adequate mitigations for each of these risks. This is further explained in Step 3.1.3.
Luckily, you don’t have to start from scratch. A first version of a risk register has already been prepared as part of this MU-Procedure. This includes all risks that could be identified for generic Multi-Use as well as potential mitigation. It is recommended to start from this generic risk register and make it specific for your Multi-Use activity.
If you hear the words risk management and risk register for the first time in your life, then it might be wise to first read this:
- Risk management: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_management
- Risk management tool – risk register: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_register
Step 2.5: Other important points
This are only the highlights of points to be addressed BEFORE you engage in discussions on Multi-Use with the WFO. These discussions may lead to additional questions and an additional need for other or more detailed evidence. It is the intention of this Multi-Use Procedure to include more document templates for this as well as recording as much evidence and good practices as possible. This will lead to a library of information that you can use for starting with your Multi-Use activities. And if you’re missing something, then please let us know!
Result of step 2?
Now you have compiled a package of documents, including a Health & safety plan; a Risk Register; (Approach for an) Emergency response procedure and a presentation about you, your plans (and conditions) and assurances. Now it’s time to contact the your preferred wind farm operator and make an appointment. Here is the list of the existing and future wind farm operators, good luck!
- Noordzeewind, operated by joint venture Noordzeewind
- Prinses Amalia, operated by Eneco
- Gemini, operated by joint venture Gemini
- Luchterduinen, operated by Eneco
- Borssele I & II, operated by Ørsted
- Borssele III & IV, operated by Blauwwind
- Hollander Kust Zuid, operated by Vattenfall