Minor Offshore Renewable Energy

There are but few sectors where developments are taking place at such a fast pace as in the offshore wind energy sector. Wind turbines are becoming increasingly bigger, and with them the ships to install them, while the technical innovations are developing at breakneck speed.

Zeeland, in particular the port of Vlissingen, is currently the centre from which the construction of large, new wind farms (Borssele 1-4) is being carried out. The demand for qualified personnel in this sector is high. It is therefore only logical that HZ developed a minor last year, which introduces students to all aspects of this new industry. But how do we ensure that the knowledge we offer remains up-to-date and relevant? The answer is as simple as it is effective: the companies themselves provide the largest part of the lectures.

Paul Schermer is the creator and coordinator of the minor that is now being offered for the third time: “the lecturers have little knowledge about this topic, which is why we have asked companies to provide the presentations. We first established five learning pathways, namely design, installation, electrification, maintenance and logistics. Then we looked for companies that could provide guest lectures on these topics and we extend these with excursions and visits to symposia. The minor covers all the topics related to offshore wind power, the design of a wind farm, construction, the installations, such as transformer stations at sea, but also how to bring the power ashore and its subsequent transport. And of course, the maintenance and operation of a wind farm. This gives students a helicopter view of all the aspects of offshore renewable energy. That is 90% wind and the rest is, for example, about generating energy from the oceans, such as tidal and wave energy.”

The students can use the knowledge they obtain in their future professional practice so that they can make decisions at management level, which will make the use of renewable energy even more profitable. And that is not just about producing electricity. Schermer: “Today, they are getting a guest lecture on the production of hydrogen at sea, which is then transported through old gas pipelines to heavy industry, so that an economy that uses 100% sustainable energy comes one step closer." The minor is accessible to students from different study programmes: Maritime Officer, Logistics, Civil Engineering and Engineering. Maritime Officer student Arnaud De Groote and Engineering student Krijn van Vliet appreciate the complete overview the minor gives. Krijn: “It helped me to start considering all the aspects of sustainable energy.” Arnaud: “This market is always changing. If you hear about the use of a new technique somewhere, another one has already been developed. The great thing about the minor is that we are also a part of this innovation, because the companies make sure they present the latest developments to us.” He will certainly continue his studies in this sector and has already found an internship at a large Belgian offshore company. Arnaud is impressed by the sector’s huge dynamics: “As soon as a wind farm is realised, it is already outdated.”

An important assignment in the minor is a realistic tender the students must draw up for a wind farm project led by Boskalis. Paul Schermer: “The students have to register for a tender and they are assessed by Boskalis as if they were a real company. Ultimately, the contract will be awarded to one of the groups.” But apart from the innovation discussion there is also, for example, a project to restore oyster beds in a wind farm at sea. Another group is working on innovations at Van Oord in the Borssele 5 project. Also see deze filmpjes.

The minor attracts students from outside HZ and also from abroad. Paul Schermer: “Offshore wind is an export product. Offshore wind farms are created all over the world.”

Voor meer informatie over Van Oord Borssele Wind Farm Site V zie hieronder