Royal HaskoningDHV assesses environmental impact of Scottish windfarms

30 January 2017

ScottishPower Renewables has commissioned Royal HaskoningDHV to assess the environmental impact of two large scale East Anglia Zone developments, the 700 MW and 800 MW offshore windfarms. The firm will monitor a range of key geological, ornithological and shipping data, the compiled data will form a key component in the planning application process.

ScottishPower Renewables is a subsidiary of global utilities giant Iberdrola. The subsidiary operates 30 windfarms across Scotland with a total generation capacity of 1,600 MW. The company is in particular focused on tapping into onshore and offshore wind potential, with a number of additional, large megawatt projects in the pipeline, including East Anglia Zone developments: East Anglia ONE, ONE NORTH, TWO and THREE offshore Windfarms, which will together generate more than 3500 megawatts on completion – enough for four million homes.

To assess the environmental impact of two of the new project locations, East Anglia ONE and TWO, ScottishPower Renewables has commissioned the services of Royal HaskoningDHV. The windfarms are considerable undertakings; East Anglia TWO is located 31 km from Lowestoft, and covers an area of 257 km2 while East Anglia ONE is 36 kilometres off the coast, covering an area of 209 km2.

Royal HaskoningDHV wins ScottishPower Renewables environmental impa

The engineering consultancy firms is tasked with collecting a range of key data, including a full geophysical survey of the sites, aerial ornithological surveys, fisheries consultation and shipping monitoring. The data will form the basis for future planning applications for the project, which are expected to be made in 2018 and 2019. The contract is valued at £8 million.

Regarding the contract, Alistair Davison, Renewables Sector Director for Royal HaskoningDHV remarks that the firm is “delighted” to continue their relationship with ScottishPower Renewables. Adding, “We have successfully worked alongside the East Anglia THREE Team for the last three years and I feel the two new contracts are a testament to our commitment to the UK offshore wind industry. Royal HaskoningDHV’s offshore wind team is experienced in providing consenting, technical and engineering services to offshore wind projects having worked on 70% of major UK offshore wind development projects and successfully consented over 8000MW of offshore wind projects across Europe. We look forward to building on this track record in the East Anglia Zone – a hugely important development which could ultimately produce enough clean energy to power over 4 million homes.”

David Walker, Head of Offshore Development at ScottishPower Renewables, says, “As well as committing to invest £2.5 billion to build the East Anglia ONE project, this contract means that ScottishPower Renewables has now invested over £30 million to develop East Anglia THREE, TWO and ONE North. This is a major financial stake in the East Anglia region, and highlights our aspiration to fully unlock the environmental and economic benefits that will come from building up to 3,500MW of offshore wind power in the region."

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How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.