Interview with Mike Woebbeking, Vice President, GL Renewables Certification and Head of Certification Body in The Windfair Newsletter

Windfair: During the past few days, GL Renewables Certification has been participating with a booth and lectures at EWEA Offshore in Amsterdam. What contribution can GL Renewables Certification make to the implementation of offshore wind parks? Mike W

Mike WoebbekingMike Woebbeking
Primarily because we have been working in the wind energy sector for more than 30 years and in the offshore field for around 25 years. In the early 1990s we began working in European offshore research projects and our current Guideline for the Certification of Offshore Wind Turbines is explicitly related to offshore wind turbines and offshore wind parks. Nowadays, we are involved in around 80% of all offshore projects to some extent. I believe that the most important contribution we can make to the successful implementation of offshore wind parks comes from our experience and expertise. The whole field of wind turbine technology is covered by our numerous onshore and offshore certifications.

Windfair: How large is your offshore market share?

Mike Woebbeking: We're the global market leader in type certification. The type certification services we offer include design assessment, which involves evaluating all the components of a wind turbine, monitoring the design-related requirements in production and erection, assessing quality management systems, and prototype testing. In type certification we have a global market share of as much as 50%. Our market share in project certification is not so high but we are working hard to boost it significantly through the expertise and know-how of the GL Group.

Windfair: What are the most important offshore services GL Renewables Certification provides?

Mike Woebbeking: First there's the site-specific design evaluation service, which involves matching the site conditions with the wind turbine in question to ensure that the wind turbine, as defined in the type certificate, is suitable for the site in question. We carry out risk analyses, examine foundation and support structure designs, conduct production tests as well as surveillance services – with an explicit eye to the factors of relevance at a specific site – and monitor the commissioning of the wind turbines. In addition to all of this, we certify offshore cable laying, power lines from offshore wind parks, and transformer stations. Here, we are also currently working with GL Noble Denton, the GL Group’s oil & gas business segment, on a new transformer platform guideline.

Windfair: What advantages do customers enjoy from these services?

Mike Woebbeking: I see a huge advantage in the fact that we have all the relevant disciplines in-house and can cover every aspect of the offshore certification process. We have our own Guidelines but we can just as easily work to international or national standards, if required or requested. For every area of relevance we have in-house experts who will accompany a project from its early stages right up to the day the certificate is issued and beyond. We offer, quite literally, everything that has anything to do with the topic of certification. From the initial conceptual phase of a project, the assessment accompanying its development, on to its operation and finally its eventual decommissioning.

Windfair: Do you offer any services that go beyond the certification of wind turbines?

Mike Woebbeking: We operate in other offshore fields as well. For example in the ocean energy sector with tidal turbines and wave energy. We are also involved in research projects and proactive members of the most important standards bodies and committees. Right now, for instance, we are working on a revision of the IEC 61400-3 standard. We also support manufacturers with CE conformity assessments and operate in other fields where you might not expect us to, for example in the certification of wind turbine maintenance firms and training institutes which provide courses in the many facets of wind energy. In the offshore field, where assistance systems are becoming increasingly important, we have had a guideline for condition monitoring systems for many years and also certify the fire protection systems that are installed in wind turbines.
Another important aspect of our offshore work is that we operate on a global scale and can rely on the expertise of GL Group experts worldwide. Wherever it makes sense and is beneficial to our clients, we exploit the synergies that exist across all of the GL Group’s service portfolio.
Windfair Editorial Team
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