The G9? No, it’s not the next iteration of the Group of Eight economic powerhouses. But it does represent a powerful bunch—comprising big renewable energy developers in Europe who have come together to set and implement health and safety standards for the offshore wind industry.
When any new industry emerges, there’s a need for health and safety standards to protect the workers, especially when demand is rising quite quickly. According to the European Wind Energy Association, 2012 will see an installed offshore wind capacity rise by 62 percent, with Ireland, Scotland, Denmark and Germany leading the way.
With individual countries and offshore wind developers addressing health and safety issues individually, the G9 saw a need for leadership and standardization in an industry that spans multiple countries with myriad of regulations. Most of these leading companies work in a number of countries, so a consistent set of regulations would be to their benefit. To try to make it happen, nine companies came together to form the G9 Offshore Wind Health and Safety Association Limited.
Paul Smith of SSE is leading the pack as chairperson, presiding over a board of executives with representatives from each company. The full force includes Centrica (U.K.), DONG Energy (Denmark), E.ON (Germany), RWE Innogy (Germany), ScottishPower Renewables (Scotland), SSE (U.K. & Ireland), Statkraft (Norway), Statoil (Norway) and Vattenfall Sweden).
As an organization looking to set standards, the G9 says it has been quick to set up an internal structure for maximum collaboration, with senior executives from each company putting in resources from their own teams and holding regular meetings to address and find solutions for ensuring offshore wind safety.
To carry out the projects and solutions thought up by the G9 board, they’ve created a “Focal-Point” team of health and safety professionals who will work directly with stakeholders to set the best practices for all offshore wind projects.
In addition to talking among themselves, group members say they will also consult with government agencies, trade associations, supply chain partners and other stakeholders in establishing the best practices and standards for the industry.