wire 2018: Cables for offshore wind turbines

2017 08 10 110337

Wind power is steadily growing as a source of energy: In 2015 German wind farms increased their output by around two thirds compared with the previous year. According to the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, wind turbines between the North Sea and the Alps generated a total of 85.4 billion kilowatt hours of electricity last year. Figures in the wind power sector show that its share accounted for more than 13 per cent of all gross electricity generation and about 14.5 per cent of electric power consumption that year.

By far the largest share of power generation comes from onshore wind turbines. However, following a record year in 2014, offshore wind turbines continued to achieve record figures in 2015, when 546 such turbines were set up, totalling an output of 2,282.4 megawatts (MW). At the end of December 2015 the total number of offshore wind turbines was 792 with 3,294.9 MW (source: Deutsche WindGuard “Status des Offshore-Windenergieausbaus in Deutschland”). According to the industry, 2016 is likely to have seen an additional 700 MW.

Compared with onshore wind, offshore wind power is more expensive, as it poses far greater technical challenges. This is because offshore turbines must be firmly anchored, wired up, installed and operated at sea. Moreover, the load level under operation is greater than on land, while maintenance and servicing are more expensive, too. On the other hand, the wind yield is much higher at sea, so that offshore wind farms can in fact be very lucrative. The basic disadvantage of long distances between power generation and consumption even has benefits for an entire industry: cable manufacturers. To take electricity from a wind turbine to a power socket, offshore wind farms need considerable lengths of cables.

Take, for example, the cabling at the offshore wind farm Amrumbank West, which started regular operation in October 2015. Covering an area of 32 square kilometres (12 square miles), around 35 kilometres (22 miles) north-west of Heligoland, 80 wind turbines were set up at a depth of 20 to 25 metres (66 to 82 feet) below the sea, as well as a transformer platform and a measuring platform. Each of the wind turbines has a rated output of around 3.6 MW and a rotor diameter of 120 metres (394 feet). This is enough for around 300,000 households.

The cables installed within the wind farm itself run from the eight turbines to the transformer platform, amounting to around 100 kilometres (60 miles). The transformer platform serves to transform a three-phase alternating current from 33 kilovolt (kV) to 155 kV. The electric power is then taken along an 8-km (5-mile) export cable to a converter platform which transforms the three-phase alternating current to a voltage level of ± 320 kV and subsequently to direct current. The next stage is high-voltage direct current transmission along an undersea cable, situated on the seabed, to Büsum. This involves a distance of 85 kilometres (53 miles) and then another 45 kilometres (28 miles) to the grid connection point in Brunsbüttel, where the direct current is transformed back to alternating current.

Germany’s very first offshore wind farm Alpha Ventus, erected in the middle of the North Sea in late 2009, is much smaller, Yet the electricity it produces is sufficient for 50,000 households. It consists of 12 turbines, each with a rated output of 5 MW and an offshore substation which houses the transformer and all the necessary electrotechnical equipment.

Here, too, the electric power travels a long way from production to the consumer. Within the wind farm the electricity is first taken from the turbines to an offshore substation along 33-kV undersea cables. 16 kilometres (10 miles) of cables had to be buried at least 60 centimetres (nearly 2 feet) below the seabed. Once the electric energy has been transformed at the offshore substation to 110 kV, it is taken along a 60-kilometre (37-mile) undersea cable, as thick as an arm, across the seabed, via the island of Norderney, to the northern German coast. It then enters Germany’s power grid at the Hagermarsch substation. The undersea cable also has optical-fibre data cables integrated into it, connecting the wind farm to contemporary communication and monitoring systems.

Control and monitoring on land

Offshore wind turbines are usually controlled and monitored on land. In the case of Alpha Ventus the control centre is situated in a town called Norden in the district of Aurich. This is where all information and all data are collected. The operating status of the wind farm is shown in real time on several monitors that display images, maps, charts and figures. The operating data that is recorded includes the wind speed, power output, rotation speeds, oil temperatures and the orientation of each nacelle. The data is monitored and analysed by a condition monitoring system (CMS), so that any unusual values are detected at an early stage and suitable measures can be taken. The operations manager also coordinates and monitors the deployment of service teams at the wind farm. Furthermore, using a controllable webcam and several fixed webcams, the operations manager traces helicopter flights and the movements of ships within the wind farm.

Long distances also characters the Sandbank offshore wind farm. Situated around 90 kilometres (56 miles) off Sylt and 110 kilometres (68 miles) from the coast, 72 wind turbines are currently being installed here, at a water depth of 24 to 33 metres (79 to 108 feet). Each has a rated output of 4 MW, and the wind farm will eventually produce 1.4 terawatt hours per year, enough to serve around 400,000 German households. The wind farm is 60 square kilometres (23 square miles) in size, and the cable from the converter station to the coast is 165 kilometres (103 miles) in length. In addition, there is another 45 kilometres (28 miles) from the starting point of the cable in Büsum to the substation. Sandbank is scheduled to become operational in 2017.

Cabling within the wind farm takes the electric power from 72 wind turbines to the farm’s own substation. Each cable harness serves nine turbines, connecting them to the substation. Two harnesses can each be connected to one another in such a way that turbine operation will continue in the event of cable damage. In all, around 96 kilometres (60 miles) of cables are being layed within the wind farm, using two different diameters of 630 and 185 square millimetres, respectively (10 and 2.9 square inches). In addition, the cables contain fibre-optic cables for data exchange between the wind turbines and the substation and also for the remote control and monitoring of the wind farm from the control centre in Esbjerg, Denmark. The cables are first deposited on the seabed and are then buried underneath it at a depth of at least 0.6 metres (nearly 2 feet). This work is done by a special cable-laying vessel which also takes the cables from the manufacturer in the UK to its destination at sea.

However, large wind farms are being built not only in the North Sea, but also in the Baltic Sea – for example, EnBW Baltic 1 and 2. Baltic 1, Germany’s first commercial offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea, has 21 turbines with a total capacity of 48.3 MW. Covering around 7 square kilometres (2.7 square miles), it produces some 185 million kilowatt hours per year, catering for 50,000 households. The cabling of the wind farm comprises 23 kilometres (14 miles) of 33-kV undersea cables. The total track length covered by the power lines is about 77 kilometres (48 miles), of which around 61 kilometres (38 miles) are undersea cables and 16 kilometres (10 miles) are situated on land.

Baltic 2, commissioned in September 2015, is much bigger, with 80 turbines and a total capacity of 288 MW. Connecting all 80 turbines to the substation meant laying an undersea cable of around 85 kilometres (53 miles). It conveys not only electric power, but also information and data between the turbines and the control station in Barhöft, using highly sensitive fibre-optic cables, integrated into the main cable. Once the electric power has been transformed from 33 to 150 kV, it is transported by a special export cable from the substation via EnBW Baltic 1 to the Bentwisch substation on land. It is now transformed from 150 to 380 kV and fed into the German grid. The cable runs for about 120 kilometres (75 miles) at sea and 16 kilometres (10 miles) on land.

Major installation work is required for this purpose, including not only the substation, the bases and the turbines, but also the cabling within the wind farm. A Uniconsult study, based on experience and target values, has estimated the average installation times for each of the major components at an offshore wind farm. A base apparently takes two days, and each wind turbine around 1.5 days. The transformer platform is even more time-consuming and like to take around 70 days. The greatest amount of time, however, is required for the cabling, which takes six to eight months per wind farm.


Manufacturing and laying of undersea cables

Offshore undersea cables are so-called three-core cables. According to 50Hertz Transmission GmbH, each individual conductor consists of the actual copper conductor, the inner and outer conductive layers to control the fields and some high-voltage insulation, made from cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE). To enable the transmission of measured and control signals, the undersea cable also has a fibre-optic cable integrated into it. The core is surrounded by galvanised steel wires which protect the cable against mechanical damage, for instance from anchors. The dimensions of an undersea cable are calculated from scratch and are adjusted specially from case to case. It can have a diameter of up to 25 centimetres (10 inches) and weigh around 100 kilograms per metre.

Laying cables on the seabed, says the company, can be a major challenge. First, the cables are rolled up by the manufacturer onto large drums, whereupon they are loaded onto a cable-laying ship and taken out to sea. Near the coast the cable is pulled onto land from the ship. Floats are used to keep the cable on the surface of the water for cable-laying purposes. This is to prevent damage from rocks or uneven surfaces on the seabed. When the cable is linked to its connecting point on land, the floats are removed and the cable gradually sinks down to the seabed. As the ship moves out, the cable is unravelled from the reel and settles on the seabed. The end of the cable is connected to the end of the next cable via a sleeve.

Depending on the condition of the seabed, there are numerous different methods and tools for the laying of cables. If, for instance, the seabed is hard and rocky, it is common to use a plough-like tool slide. A sandy seabed, on the other hand, rather simplifies matters, and it is possible to use an underwater jet sled that runs across the entire length of the cable, creating a one-metre (three-foot) groove. The cable then sinks into the groove and is embedded on the seabed by the current. Finally, the end of the cable is connected to the transformer and the platform. It takes about three days to lay a cable section of 15 kilometres (just over 9 miles). In many places this means using undersea workers, i.e. divers.

One offshore cable manufacturer is Nexans Germany who claims to be among Europe’s leading players in this industry. Operating from its plant in Hanover, it has supplied a variety of XLPE-insulated undersea cables throughout the world for nearly 30 years now. The structure of a cable is determined by a range of requirements, environmental conditions and of course national and international standards. As the requirement and environment profile of a cable can vary substantially, undersea cables are always customised specially for each project.

The best type of cable for use within the actual wind farm, according to Nexans, is a maintenance-free 36-kV XLPE cable with integrated optical fibre elements for data communication. Cable designs can come with and without longitudinal and transverse water protection. A beneficial design is one that has an aluminium coat, as the weight is relatively low, the diameter is smaller and the bending radius is also smaller than that of a lead-coated cable. This makes the cable much easier to handle when it is laid and also when it is fed into a turbine tower.

Steel reinforcement, says Nexans, has proved to be ideal. Stranding three power cables together with an overlay of steel reinforcement makes it possible to reduce any magnetic fields to a technical minimum. Moreover, steel reinforcement provides mechanical protection, thus cushioning the enormous tensile forces which are at work while laying the cable and while fixing it to a tower.

wire and Tube a successful trade fair duo in Düsseldorf

Cable manufacturers have always been at the heart of wire, the world’s leading trade fair for the wire and cable industries, a trade fair that can look back to a 30-year success story in Düsseldorf this year. wire 2016 featured 1,337 exhibitors from 53 countries, occupied a net exhibition space of 59,700 square metres and covered everything associated with wires and cables. In all, it attracted around 69,500 trade visitors from over 130 countries to Düsseldorf, the state capital of North Rhine Westphalia in April, all of them wanting to attend the two trade fairs, wire and Tube. The successful trade fair duo will be back again two years later, and the next wire and Tube have been scheduled to run from 16 to 20 April 2018.


Codelco and Anglo American recognize Metso's contribution to safety

Metso has received recognition for promoting safety at the worksites of Codelco and Anglo American in Chile. Metso has been able to improve the safety of operations at both sites by developing and implementing innovative safety enhancements. The award from Codelco and the written testimonial from Anglo American were received at customer-hosted events. 

metso logo new oneA mobile application tool developed by Metso is used by the health, safety, environment and quality personnel at the Codelco worksite. By utilizing a pre-formatted checklist, it evaluates the various conditions that must be controlled in field supervision, such as the application of risk control sheets and training of personnel involved. All this yields a supervision performance result to ensure proper implementation of controls and application of preventive measures. 

Similarly, Metso's commitment to the goal of zero incidents has been recognized by Anglo American, specifically the implementation of job risk assessment procedures that enable operational continuity in the plants, a task always focused on critical controls.

"We encourage other companies in the industry to follow the example set by Metso and implement similar initiatives to improve the safety of their operations," says Hernán Cabello, Superintendent, Gabriela Mistral, Codelco.

"We are honored to receive these recognitions. For us at Metso, it is important to engage everyone in initiatives that improve safety. The highest safety standards are shared across Metso and we are committed to keeping it as our top priority in the future as well," says Aldo Cermenati, Senior Vice President, Pacific Rim market area.

Metso is committed to safety

Health, safety and environmental matters are top priorities for Metso, and prioritizing the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, customers and partners is fundamental to everyone at Metso. Therefore, all Metso employees actively participate in eliminating safety risks. Also, partners and subcontractors are required to take care of occupational health and safety within their operations.

Metso is a world leading industrial company serving the mining, aggregates, recycling, oil, gas, pulp, paper and process industries. We help our customers improve their operational efficiency, reduce risks and increase profitability by using our unique knowledge, experienced people and innovative solutions to build new, sustainable ways of growing together.

Our products range from mining and aggregates processing equipment and systems to industrial valves and controls. Our customers are supported by a broad scope of services and a global network of over 80 service centers and about 6,000 services professionals. Metso has an uncompromising attitude towards safety.

Metso is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki, Finland, and had sales of about EUR 2.6 billion in 2016. Metso employs over 11,000 people in more than 50 countries. Expect results.


Decommissioning consultancy strengthens leadership team with key appointment

A specialist decommissioning consultancy has strengthened its leadership team as the company prepares for further growth.

London-headquartered RVA Group has appointed Nick Clark as Operations Manager. With a wealth of experience working in high hazard environments, he joins this organisation following 15 years’ management in the offshore and onshore oil sector.

2017 07 10 085305Proficiently skilled in the running, maintenance, and decommissioning of multifaceted plants, Nick will play a key role in the increasingly complex projects that RVA is consistently securing. He is a chartered member of IOSH, with a vast portfolio of EHS, CDM, asbestos management and quality assurance training, and has helped to form and develop a number of multi-skilled teams in his previous roles.

Nick’s appointment coincides with RVA’s 25th year in business. During this time, the company has completed over 700 complex, high-hazard and large-scale decommissioning, dismantling and demolition projects in the petrochemical, chemical, power generation, oil, gas and pharmaceutical sectors.  In addition to providing support for the physical removal of process plants, RVA is also being increasingly called upon to develop detailed strategic medium and long-term redundant asset management plans.

But the company does not rest on its laurels, comments founder and Managing Director Richard Vann: “We have an enviable – yet justifiable – reputation in this niche field, and to mark 25 successful years in business is a testament to the hard work of everyone within our 15-strong team.

“However, we’re here to build an RVA fit for the future too. So, as we prepare for the next 25 years in business, we need to continuously bring in fresh, dynamic talent that will enable us to push new boundaries as industry challenges evolve. Nick is one of five members of a new leadership structure, which will take us confidently into the next decade and beyond.”

RVA is not just investing in new team members. The company is also continuing to sponsor targeted personnel development plans, and has recently implemented a £30,000 cloud infrastructure to improve the efficiency, flexibility and security of the team’s work.

Elaborating on ‘life at RVA’, Richard continues: “Due to the inherently hazardous nature of the sites we’re brought in to manage, it’s never a case of simply appointing a contractor to pull a plant down. There are an array of front-end engineering works to be carried out including structural surveys, feasibility studies, isolation design and decommissioning strategies, before anyone else even comes on to site.

“Then the appropriate decommissioning, dismantling and demolition works ensue, with – in some cases – a proportion of assets suitable for relocation or resale. For us, the more complex the site the better. We have some of the industry’s most skilled professionals in our team who can add significant value to such projects. But they need a robust environment in which to thrive hence the continued investment in the company.”

RVA now has a truly global presence having recently completed projects in Canada, the US, France and the Netherlands, to name just a few. Over the last four years the company’s Singapore branch has also been fully engaged in the management of the three largest decommissioning and dismantling projects ever carried out on Jurong Island, the country’s vast industrial heartland.


OMNOVA Reports Growth in Specialty Businesses in 2017 Second Quarter

OMNOVA Solutions Inc. (NYSE: OMN) have just announced a loss per share of $0.14 for the second quarter ended May 31, 2017, compared to earnings of $0.16 per share in last year's comparable quarter. Adjusted Diluted Earnings Per Share was $0.16 for the second quarter of 2017, compared with $0.18 last year.  In the second quarter of 2017, the Company recorded an impairment loss of approximately $12.9 million related to China coated fabrics and charges of approximately $3.6 million related to the "One OMNOVA" restructuring initiative, compared to charges of $1.1 million in last year's second quarter.

omnova logo"During the quarter, we made significant progress on our key strategic initiatives.  I am particularly pleased with the growth we saw in our specialty businesses resulting from our investment in marketing, sales, and innovation excellence," said Anne Noonan, OMNOVA's President and Chief Executive Officer. "In particular, we had strong growth in oil and gas, non-wovens, elastomeric modifiers, laminates and films," Noonan continued.  "Additionally, we executed, as planned, on the restructuring of our 'One OMNOVA' support functions, driving SG&A reductions.  At the end of the quarter, our vitality index (sales from new products introduced over the last five years as a percentage of total sales) was approximately 25%, driven by growth in value-creating innovative specialty products.  From a sales perspective, May 2017 was a record month for our strengthened team, with the highest number of new product and customer wins yet.

"We are considering all options as we proactively address our unprofitable China coated fabrics business.  We expect resolution before the end of July 2017.

"Raw material costs spiked through March and then declined rapidly during the remainder of the quarter.  As a result, our gross profit margins were approximately $5.2 million unfavorable in the quarter.  We continued our intense focus on value pricing for the non-indexed portion of our business while continuing to execute our specialization strategy.  As we progress into the second half of the year, we expect margins to recover with pricing actions and some softening in raw materials," said Noonan.

"The Company has realigned its businesses and related reporting into two new segments:  Specialty Solutions and Performance Materials.  In our new segments, we have grouped like businesses that share similar end-market characteristics and executional strategies. The businesses in the Specialty Solutions segment are characterized by higher and more sustainable margins in faster growing markets.  Those businesses include our C.A.S.E. businesses (coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers), non-wovens, laminates & films, and oil & gas.  The Performance Materials segment includes our more mature businesses, where we are focused on operational excellence to drive continued profit improvements and cash generation.  Those businesses include paper, carpet, tire cord, coated fabrics, antioxidants and reinforcing rubber," said Noonan.

Consolidated Results for the Second Quarter of Fiscal 2017

Net sales for the second quarter were $221.3 million, up 9.6% from last year's $202.0 million.  Sales in Specialty Solutions increased 14.4% to $121.5 million, while sales in Performance Materials increased 4.2% to $99.8 million.  Volume declined $6.0 million, or 3%, primarily related to the China coated fabrics business and continued market conditions in paper and carpet, which were partially offset by improved overall volumes in Specialty Solutions.  Pricing improved by $22.9 million, or 11.3%, reflecting index pricing adjustments and the results of the Company's non-indexed price increases.  Currency translation increased sales by $2.4 million, or 1.2%, for the quarter.

Gross profit in the second quarter of 2017 was $53.2 million, or 24.0% of net sales, compared to $58.4 million, or 28.9% of net sales, last year.  The declines from the comparable quarter last year result from raw material cost increases and volume declines in Performance Materials, partially offset by Specialty Solutions' volume growth, cost reduction initiatives and pricing increases.

SG&A in the second quarter was $30.1 million, down from $33.4 million last year, primarily reflecting the favorable impact from cost reduction initiatives.

Interest expense of $5.3 million reflected lower interest rates as a result of the third quarter 2016 refinancing - a year-over-year improvement of $0.4 million.

Income tax expense was $2.4 million in the second quarter of 2017, compared to $3.2 million last year.  The reduction in second quarter tax expense compared to 2016 primarily relates to lower global pre-tax income in 2017.  Cash tax payments were minimal as the Company has approximately $99.0 million of U.S. federal net operating loss carryforwards and $108.7 million of state and local tax net operating loss carryforwards.

Cash provided by operations in the second quarter of 2017 was $13.1 million, compared to $21.4 million last year.  Increased accounts receivable as a result of stronger sales in the latter part of the quarter was the largest driver of the decline.  Working capital improved by 9.9 days at quarter-end to 50.9 days, compared with 60.8 days last year.  Adjusted net leverage was 3.7x as compared to 3.5x last year (see Tables E and F), reflecting the decline in EBITDA primarily due to the timing of raw material cost movements and price realization.

Specialty Solutions Segment Results

Net sales for the Specialty Solutions segment during the second quarter of 2017 increased $15.3 million, or 14.4%, to $121.5 million, compared with $106.2 million last year. The improvement was driven by volume increases of $6.7 million, or 6.3%, and pricing increases of $7.5 million, or 7.1%.  Foreign currency translation had a favorable effect of $1.2 million, or 1.1%.

Specialty Solutions' segment operating profit for the quarter was $18.0 million, compared with $19.4 million last year.  Adjusted Segment Operating Profit was $18.1 million, compared to $19.0 million last year. (See Tables A and B.)  Favorable volume, increased pricing, and lower SG&A costs almost completely offset increased raw material costs.

Performance Materials Segment Results

Net sales for the Performance Materials segment during the second quarter of 2017 increased $4.0 million, or 4.1%, to $99.8 million, compared with $95.8 million last year.  The improvement was driven by pricing increases of $15.4 million, or 16.1%, partially offset by volume declines of $12.7 million, or 13.3%.  Foreign currency translation had a favorable impact of $1.2 million, or 1.3%.  Growth in coated fabrics outside of China, tire cord and antioxidants remained strong, but was not enough to offset declines including China coated fabrics.

Performance Materials' segment operating loss for the quarter was $8.0 million, compared with an operating profit of $5.2 million last year, primarily reflecting the impairment charge of $12.8 million for the China coated fabrics business.  Adjusted Segment Operating Profit was $3.7 million, compared to $6.6 million last year. (See Tables A and B.)  Favorable pricing and lower SG&A spending were offset by raw material cost increases and the impact from lower volume.


During the second half of fiscal 2017, the Company expects margin expansion from continued value pricing and softening raw material costs.  The Company remains on track to deliver Adjusted Diluted Earnings Per Share growth in fiscal 2017 through specialties growth driven by innovative new products, the strengthened capabilities of OMNOVA's commercial team, mix improvement, and value pricing, as well as the continued benefit of cost reduction initiatives.

The Company anticipates releasing new segment tables for quarters in 2015, 2016 and 2017 together with the filing of the Company's second quarter of 2017 Form 10Q.

OMNOVA Solutions Inc. is a global innovator of performance-enhancing chemistries and surfaces used in products for a variety of commercial, industrial and residential applications. As a strategic business-to-business supplier, OMNOVA provides The Science in Better Brands, with emulsion polymers, specialty chemicals, and functional and decorative surfaces that deliver critical performance attributes to top brand-name, end-use products sold around the world. OMNOVA's sales for the last twelve months ended May 31, 2017 were approximately $778 million. The Company has a global workforce of approximately 2,000. Visit OMNOVA Solutions on the internet at

SOURCE OMNOVA Solutions Inc.


New Chair at Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership

Basil Scarsella, the Chief Executive Officer at UK Power Networks, is now the Chair at the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership. He has succeeded the former E.ON UK Chief Executive Tony Cocker, who has held the role since the Skills Partnership’s formation last summer. 

The Skills Partnership comprises 29 leading utility sector employers that have come together with a mission to “ensure a safe, skilled and sustainable workforce provides the essential services that our customers seek and meets the UK’s needs from the energy and utilities infrastructure.”

2017 06 20 092525The energy and utilities sector needs to recruit 221,000 people over the next 10 years, with 20% of its workforce retiring over that same period. The sector has a critical role for the UK, delivering essential services to 65 million citizens each day and being responsible for 56% of the National Infrastructure Pipeline – a pipeline that underpins the UK economy. The Skills Partnership recognised the need for collective action, and has made the case to show that individual business cannot be left to manage workforce resilience alone.

Basil Scarsella said: ”I am delighted and honoured to take on this role, as I appreciate how important it is to develop a sustainable workforce in an industry that is essential to meet people’s everyday needs.

“UK Power Networks has already trained more than 250 apprentices in the past five years to help fill the industry’s skills gap and we will continue to attract talented and promising new recruits over the coming months and years. Every company is only as good as its employees.”

Tony Cocker, who stepped down as Chief Executive at E.ON UK in April, added: “I’m proud to have served as Chair of the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, which has taken real strides forward is a relatively short space of time. Bringing so many leading sector employers together to publish the first-ever coherent strategic plan, the Workforce Renewal & Skills Strategy, is a major achievement and underscores the need for urgent action.

“The Skills Partnership has since engaged with stakeholders, sector employers of all sizes, education and training providers and elected officials to encourage urgent action to be taken. Basil Scarsella takes over as Chair at a time of increased recognition of the significant contribution the sector can make to increased growth and productivity. I’ve no doubts that he’ll lead the Skills Partnership to build on these early successes and I wish him the best of luck.”

Energy & Utility Skills, the expert voice on workforce issues across the sector, has been the driving force behind the creation of the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership. Energy & Utility Skills Chief Executive Nick Ellins added: “The Skills Partnership has been formed at a key time for the UK, and is focused on ensuring a resilient, skilled and sustainable workforce for an energy & utilities sector that is pivotal to the UK. Tony Cocker has played a significant and valued part in building a strong partnership between all those involved and in securing tangible progress. This included releasing the first ever workforce renewal and skills strategy for the sector. We are delighted to have Basil Scarsella now take the leadership of the Chief Executive’s Council as we all drive the strategy and new initiatives forward”   

“We recognise the scale of the challenge facing the sector in ensuring we have the skilled workforce needed to constantly deliver vital services, safely and efficiently. We will be collaborating with the four UK governments to achieve this and in managing the emerging challenges such as Brexit and the ever increasing competition for UK talent.”

In February 2017 the Skills Partnership published The Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy, the first-ever coherent strategic plan for the continued delivery of essential energy and utility services to 65 million people every day across Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland. The sector accounts for 56% of the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan and requires a skilled, competent and sustainable workforce

Key among the Skills Strategy’s findings is that 221,000 vacancies will be created across the entire energy and utilities sector during the next decade. This will be made up of 100,000 existing employees who will retire, 90,000 who will move to jobs outside the sector, and another 31,000 that will be required to fill newly-created roles.  The Skills Strategy highlights the need for the entire sector to source applicants with varied and often high-level skills to keep up with evolving needs.

The Skills Partnership’s members are collaborating on a series of initiatives to increase sector attractiveness and recruitment, maximise investment in skills and take a targeted action to address skills gaps and shortages.

Energy & Utility Skills is the provider of choice for guidance, employer solutions, setting, registering and assessing competency standards and bespoke consultancy.  It helps employers attract new talent, develop their workforces and assure a high level of competence across their businesses. For more, visit

The Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, is a collective of 29 leading sector employers that are working together to secure the continual seamless delivery of the wider sector’s services across the UK. For more, visit