E6 - Whole systems approaches to operate large scale ORE

E - Survivability, Reliability and Design

Status - published
Last updated on: 07/12/2023


As offshore wind becomes a larger fraction of the grid supply, without better integration of supply, storage and the grid, the supply will be vulnerable to the availability of wind.


A systems level approach between farms and integration with storage is needed to maintain grid supply. Better integration of wind farms, storage and the grid is needed, and the grid integration of ORE farms focusing on system stability and the impact of distributed energy storage is needed.

Context and Need

Governments are setting high energy targets (e.g. Scottish Government 50% of energy from renewables by 2030) Energy demand to increase substantially in future, e.g. meet demand for transport and heat).

As renewable energy forms a larger fraction of the grid, and is being supplied by larger and larger devices (up to 50 MW is contemplated) managing the ORE system at farm level and between farms is more important. This will be a complete game changer, requiring much more flexible and intelligent operation of offshore assets.

Criterion for optimisation of operation need to change completely.

We need a systems level approval to create an integrated approach to operation of wind farms, make O & M strategic, and provision of ancillary services, post production and grid integration.

As renewable energy generation has displaced conventional generation, with generators often located on the distribution network, and the growth of (HVDC connected) ORE (in particularly wind) farms, the stability challenges are becoming much more apparent, e.g. voltage stability margin, low inertia situations, and dynamic oscillations.

System operators are increasingly updating grid code requirements to meet current and anticipated future challenges including grid stabilization by using ORE (in particularly wind) farms possibly jointly with distributed energy storage. Meanwhile the impact of ancillary service to ORE farms is also expected to be investigated.

The areas for deployment would/could be expanded considerably by driving down the lower limits of the resource.

To date, extreme conditions have been researched but not necessarily the lower limits which has a very different challenge.


Targets are moving towards being defined in terms of energy - also very large scale envisaged (50MV) A systems level approach to supply, storage and grid integration is needed for optimal utilisation of offshore assets. The Government are starting to set energy targets and reducing the economic viability opens the potential for device deployment in UK, South America etc. The limit of Economic Viability of Devices should be investigated to enable design to lower (for instance) the velocity of flow whilst achieving economic viability.

Impact Potential

Without meeting this challenge there will be upward pressure on cost of energy and downward pressure on scale of development.

Improved grid resilience, reduced grid maintenance and operation costs, and minimized environment impact. This can help reduce electricity price and the increase deployment of ORE farms.

The UK is very well placed and would benefit due to the inclusion of unchartered coastline and seas. To lead this area also opens the potential for international expansion.

Research Summary

Early Stage Research:


Active research projects:

  • LiftWEC H2020 Grant 851885: The LiftWEC project involves the development of a novel wave energy converter whose primary coupling with the waves is through the generation of hydrodynamic lift on a rotating hydrofoil. This will be achieved by a combination of numerical/physical modelling and desk-based studies of the structural design, the operational & maintenance requirements and the environmental/social impacts of the technology.
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