TotalDECOM Interviews - Dr Gillian Smith
I head up the decommissioning studies that we do and I find it very useful to have a reasonable idea of what techniques there are available and what adaptation there would need to be to apply to renewables.
So for example, the oil and gas offshore industry are developing cutting tools for cutting piles off at sea bed level and more remotely operated equipment. So those will transfer across into wind energy but they would need to be adapted because the piles that wind turbines use are much bigger.
Wind turbine piles can be 8m diameter and 100mm wall thickness, whereas oil and gas typically no more than 2m diameter.
So there’s techniques, how you do it but how you would need to adapt it.
My own focus tends to be more learning from the oil and gas industry and things that are relevant, things that are not relevant.
I have found though, I attended this same event last year, that it was useful in the non-offshore industries thinking about how to break up and dispose of materials once you got to shore. Because having got things to shore, you then have to deal with them.
So for example, concrete gravity bases which is one form of foundations for turbines. When you’ve got that to shore, there are techniques for demolishing reinforced concrete. And so getting a steer on that, talking to people who actually do it every day, getting an idea of the cost and what’s involved, is very useful to me.
-Dr Gillian Smith