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

Lecture 1 – Offshore Wind Basics

  • Introduction
  • Options for renewable energy and why choose offshore wind
  • How does offshore wind work
  • Stages of offshore wind development
  • Permits & regulations
  • Common options for offshore wind site investigation ownership

Lecture 2 – Site Selection 

  • Desktop studies on wind, geology, archaeology, morphodynamics
  • Stakeholders and stakeholder management
  • Seabed occupation/UXO
  • Grid connection to shore
  • Ports/logistics hub
  • Site selection and tender process

Lecture 3 – Data acquisition 

  • What types of surveys do we need and why (MetOcean, geophysical and geotechnical survey types)
  • Various types of data and its use:
    • Wind, waves and currents: MetOcean data
    • Seabed and soil data: Soil data
  • Building an integrated Ground Model
  • Defining your site investigation

Lecture 4 – Foundation types

  • Purpose of a foundation
  • Offshore wind turbine foundations:
    • Fixed Bottom structures
    • Floating Wind structures
  • Geotech for offshore wind foundations

Lecture 5a – Offshore wind geophysics

  • Types of data acquisition: 2D and 3D seismics, side scan sonar, MBES, magnetometer, sub-bottom profiler
  • Survey layout and parameters
  • Processing of geophysical offshore wind data
  • Innovations: (e.g. unmanned vessels, processing techniques, AI generated CPTs)

Lecture 5b – Offshore wind geotechnics & Ground Model

  • Development of the borehole/locations plan
  • Difference in Survey requirements
    • Fixed vs Floating foundations
    • Cable Routes
  • Various CPT and downhole measurement tools, including downhole geophysics.
  • Data obtained with geotechnical tools and use
    • How to view and understand as a non-specialist
  • The laboratory testing program
  • Deriving relevant design parameters
  • Integration into a ground model
  • Innovations

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.