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Letters: unheeded offshore lessons

Energy: Unheeded offshore lessons

John Franklin in his letter (NCE 27 May) asks if offshore wind tower designers are using similar design rules and details for the design of the grouted connections to those employed by the offshore oil and gas industry for the last 30 years. I’m sorry to report that they are not.

I’ve worked on the design of such structures since the late 1970s. In common with my colleagues who have similar oil and gas experience, we all say the same thing when looking at the grouted connection design details for wind turbines: “Where are the weld beads that form the shear keys within the grout annulus?”

We all receive the same response: “We don’t do it like that in the wind industry.” Well I’m sorry, but as the current crop of failures confirms, (NCE 22 April), the wind industry has been doing it wrongly.

Obviously offshore wind is a relatively new industry and it is attracting a lot of young engineers who don’t have the benefit of extensive offshore experience.

I have no issue with that, but they should be aware that many of the design, planning, installation and maintenance problems that are relevant to the offshore wind industry have already been solved in the offshore oil and gas industry.

Hopefully there won’t have to be further instances of painfully climbing up learning curves that have already been conquered.

  • l Michael Humphries (M),

Turbine Turbulence

I would like to respond to your article entitled “2012 Olympic Games admits defeat on Olympics turbine” (NCE 3 June).

Since 2007, the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 has scrutinised the Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA’s) progress against its sustainability targets. The Commission reports any concerns to the Olympic Board and has taken this step on several occasions.

In this instance, the Commission has been assured that the ODA is committed to meeting its carbon emission reduction targets and that projects will be put in place to achieve them. The targets must be met and the Commission will continue to review the ODA’s plans to achieve them.

The decision not to build a wind turbine on the Olympic Park was taken by the ODA after much consideration. While the Commission regrets the loss of the symbolic value of the wind turbine, it could not have endorsed the construction of an inefficient one. In light of the evidence presented, the Commission supports the decision as the targets can be met by alternative means.

  • Shaun McCarthy, chair, Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, Palestra, 197 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8AA

Missing link madness

I doubt if I am the only one who is in two minds about the coverage of the M74 “Missing Link” in Glasgow (NCE 3 June).

As an engineer, I have been impressed by the scale and ingenuity of the cantilevered box girder viaducts. On the other hand, the project has been hugely controversial with the public. This raises concern when NCE reports claims of spin-offs, such as 20,000 new jobs, and how the motorway will somehow “reinvigorate public transport”.

The M74 loop around Glasgow city centre was a product of 1950s planning. The claim that the road is a “missing link” smacks of the old “just one more bypass” philosophy, which justifies endless road expansion. I doubt if many of us would advocate a token green response to every roads article in NCE.

However, motorways in city centres have a great number of negative points and £692M would buy a great deal of sorely needed cycling infrastructure.

Like the M74, the economic benefits would be debatable, but the tangible health benefits would be real.

  • Dr Stuart Nisbet (M), 15 Victoria Crescent, Glasgow G76 8BP

Green recovery

The UK presently sends around £4bn a month overseas to pay for our fuel. Recycling that money within the UK economy by generating renewable energy from UK owned assets, built by UK labour from UK vessels operating from UK ports has surely got to be a logical outcome for economic recovery.

Along with these energy supplies will come the need for grid re-configuration and energy storage along with energy efficiency. This will provide the long term economic benefits we have come to rely upon during the last recovery and which will support the next.

A sustainable supply and sensible final use will lead us out of our overseas oil dependency and stem the financial haemorrhage.

  • Neil Kermode, Orkney,


NCE welcomes letters from readers. We attempt to print as many as possible, which means letters longer than 200 words are likely to be condensed.





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