Helicopters and planes play a vital role in the offshore renewables industry, from development and construction, to daily procedures and emergency response. However, until recently our industry didn’t have a point of reference for the proper way to engage with or contract aviation services.
A small team of experts, which included EDP Renewables’ QHSSE manager John Yorston, formed an Offshore Renewables Aviation Guidance Steering Group and spent 18 months creating a comprehensive document known as the Offshore Renewables Aviation Guidance (ORAG) report.
On January 23, the group was honored with the Health & Safety Team Award at the annual RenewableUK Health & Safety Conference in Edinburgh, an international event focused on the wind, wave, and tidal energy sector.
The award recognized the multidisciplinary team for contributing their time, effort, experience, and expertise to a project that will have a significant impact on safety in the renewable energy industry.
The 40-page document is meant to serve as a go-to guide for the industry, and it outlines best practices for ensuring that aviation technology is being used safely and effectively in offshore renewable energy developments. First and foremost, it recognizes the significant impact of aviation on wind farms and other forms of renewable energy; even if a particular project chooses not to implement aviation technology, its development is highly likely to be affected by other airspace users.
Additionally, the importance of aviation is growing as helicopter operations become increasingly vital to the offshore development process. This includes both standard operations like air transportation, as well as more specialized operations such as helicopter hoists. Therefore the implementation of safe aviation practices should be considered a top priority from the onset of project development and through the long term.
The core section of the report aims to inform developers, duty holders, and management of the issues and risks of aviation as a logistic solution, so that they can employ specialists to develop appropriate policies. It also profiles stakeholders and regulatory bodies at the international and UK levels. The accompanying annexes provide detailed procedures, safety control measures, employee training practices, and other guidelines that will aid industry professionals at every phase of asset development.
Each section addresses a specific aspect of the process: airspace and air traffic planning, governance, project design and planning, procurement and contract management, personnel competence, supervision and management, and audit and standardization.
In addition to John Yorston of EDPR, the team was made up of representatives of RenewableUK members and partners including The Crown Estate, CHC Helicopters, DONG Energy, SeaState Aviation, and Siemens Plc. Contributions were also made by the wider membership of the Offshore Renewables Aviation Forum (ORAF), with stakeholder participants from the Civil Aviation Authority, HSE, MCA, O&GUK, and G9.
Taken as a whole, the Offshore Renewables Aviation Guidance report is a comprehensive and indispensible tool that will aid industry professionals in the safe and effective implementation of aviation technology in the offshore renewable energy industry.
EDP Renewables is proud to have been a part of the development of this project, with significant importance to our industry.