In the challenging world of offshore renewable energy development, securing the appropriate data to make informed investment decisions is the first step in initiating a viable project. While this might seem like a simple undertaking, until recently, finding reliable data at an affordable price was much more easily said than done.
In simple terms, better data enables better decisions, he explains, so as an established provider of data and insights for the energy industry, TGS is applying its expertise and capabilities in the renewables sector.
Jan Schoolmeesters, TGS executive vice president of digital energy solutions, explains, “When we looked at where our expertise is as a company, we found many touchpoints that gave us a starting point into NES.”
One of these touchpoints is geothermal energy. “We have a treasure trove of subsurface data,” he says, “so we began constructing temperature maps of North America with the goal of helping optimise location selection for geothermal plants.” The company employed the same approach to CO2 storage. “We used our subsurface knowledge to begin mapping resources to identify areas for carbon storage.”
The company also tested its model for providing multiclient data for oil and gas developments to renewables with its first LIDAR multiclient program in the New York Bight area for offshore wind, which Schoolmeesters says has drawn considerable client interest.
Expanding for greater impact
Although TGS has access to specialised data and the skills for platform development, the company recognised the need to understand the information renewable energy developers need to improve decision-making.
It became immediately apparent that there were gaps in its expertise. “We lacked a lot of the skillsets for PV solar and wind,” he says, “so we started a recruiting campaign to find the experts who would allow us to deliver expertise across the board.”
The result of that program is that today, the renewables-focused team includes nearly 100 members in data and analytics whom Schoolmeesters says are “driving new applications and infrastructure to make sure we avoid latencies and make data easily accessible.” There also are more than 60 full-time renewables experts onboard who are identifying the right types of applications for development. New recruits are joining all the time, but to achieve the ambitious scale TGS is aiming for, acquisitions would be essential.
One of the first acquisitions, 4C Offshore, was added to provide expertise in market intelligence for offshore wind. With the quality data gathered and analysed by 4C Offshore, companies will have a complete picture of the market, he says, including the best placements for offshore wind farms, vessels available to serve them, and insights into the wind turbine market that could impact development.
The acquisition of Prediktor AS, based in Norway, is another significant addition, Schoolmeesters says. “With a specialisation in mission-critical, real-time data management and a history of developing performance management solutions that allow data from a range of sensors to be read by different software solutions,” Prediktor experts will contribute valuable solutions for PV solar and wind, he says.
Ultimately, TGS intends to cover the full project life cycle. “That goes from initial survey to construction, engineering, performance, and maintenance monitoring,” he says.
TGS already is investing in product development and has recently introduced two new cloud-based solutions.
Wind AXIOM aggregates data categories in a single platform to provide comprehensive benchmarking of areas considered for offshore wind development to identify the best locations. “Data types include wind resource data, political restraints, licensing, regulations, environmental data, marine restrictions, bathymetry, transmission infrastructure, which is so important for the connections,” Schoolmeesters says.
Another product, Carbon AXIOM, is a screening tool for identifying carbon storage locations that uses extensive subsurface data and geological knowledge to identify areas with good volumetrics and limited risk of leakage.
“All our efforts focus on data-driven solutions that help customers and partners focus on the right areas and right assets,” Schoolmeesters says.