An Introduction to Offshore Wind

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to provide the participants with a comprehensive introduction into offshore wind, its development and the role of the geoscientist in this process.

During the course, the participants are taken through all the basic building blocks of the offshore wind development. We start the course with an introduction into the various options for renewable energy and why offshore wind is often the preferred option. We conclude this course by discussing the installation issues for offshore wind farms, but also touch upon maintenance issues. In between we cover all the basic steps of development, with a slight focus on the more geoscience related work such as site investigation work, setting the correct parameters for the offshore campaign and foundation selection.

After having completed the course, the participants should have a better understanding of how offshore wind farms are being developed and what factors are influencing the design and the business case of such farms. The participant should then also have a clear idea on what the role of the geoscientist in this process is. This should give him/her also some possible guidance on the career opportunities in this field, should he/she decided to move away from oil & gas and pursue a career in offshore wind.

In order to participate in this course, no real knowledge of offshore wind is mandatory. A basic understanding of geophysical and geotechnical methods will help, but the course can also easily be followed with limited knowledge of these subjects.

If required the course can be tailored to suit the needs of the group, with either more or less detailed presentations. We are happy to discuss any preferences upfront.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of the course, the participants will be able to:

  1. Better understand the process and the steps of an offshore wind farm development.
  2. Have a clear understanding of the role of the geoscientist in this process.
  3. Understand what factors are determining the final design and layout of an offshore wind farm.
  4. Have a good overall idea of offshore wind.

Course Outline

  1. Offshore wind basics
    • Overview of renewable energies
    • Why offshore wind
    • The physics behind offshore wind
    • What is needed for an offshore wind farm (how to decide on a suitable site)
    • Required permits
  2. Site selection
    • What stakeholders do we have before site selection
    • Seabed occupation/UXO
    • Grid connection to shore
    • Ports/logistics hub
    • Geospatial issues
    • Desktop studies on geology, archaeology, morphodynamics
  3. Data collection
    • MetOcean Data – wind, waves and current
      • Methodology
      • Why needed and how is it used
    • Geophysical data – seabed and below seabed
      • Methodology
      • Why needed and how is it used
    • Geotechnical data – seabed and below seabed
      • Methodology
      • Why needed and how is it used
    • Morphodynamics
    • Integration into a ground model
  4. Foundation types
    • Different types of foundation
    • Which foundation suits which project and why
    • Pro’s and Con’s for each foundation
  5. Transport & Installation
    • Installation of different foundations
    • Cable installation
    • Typical issues for installation
    • Maintenance

Participants’ Profile

The course is designed for anybody who wants to learn more about offshore wind development and who is keen to learn to understand the basic building blocks of offshore wind.


A basic understanding of geophysical and geotechnical methods will help, but the course can also easily be followed with limited knowledge of these subjects. In addition, basic understanding of physics will help to understand the overall idea of wind energy and its associated issues.

About the Instructor

Jeroen Godtschalk has a MSc in geophysics from the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands. Following his graduation, he joined the oil & gas industry and worked for 10 years with Bluewater Energy Services B.V. in The Netherlands. In the first years of his career he was involved in numerous site investigations (both geophysical and geotechnical) related to foundation design for Bluewater’s FPSO’s. Following the results of the site investigations, he also performed the foundation design, such as anchor piles or drag anchors.

Later in his career he moved to more operational roles, where he was operations manager for one of the installation vessels of Heerema Marine Contractors. During this time, he learned the importance of offshore operations and all the factors that influence this.

Ahead of the downturn in the oil and gas he moved to a sand mining/dredging company as Director of Production, where he was responsible for the whole production of the company in both The Netherlands and France. During this time, he was, again, involved in prospecting new locations for sand extraction where sand volumes had to be estimated based on site investigation work.

Since more than 2 years, he is now working for BLIX Consultancy in The Netherlands as a Sr Consultant/Project Manager. During his time with BLIX, he has mainly worked as a project manager for site investigation related work, most notably the Hollandse Kust West (1.4GW) and IJmuiden Ver (4GW) offshore wind farms offshore The Netherlands. In parallel, he co-created and is currently lecturer of the course “Offshore Wind Project Development Course” (created together with the DOB-Academy), where he is responsible for the part of “Site Selection & Permitting” for this course.