Case Study

Mainstream study over 100 million routes, with Optioneer

Optioneer used automation to quickly study 100 million routes for a complex offshore wind project, producing detailed analysis that satisfied regulator requirements. Mainstream used this analysis to swiftly select the best route, meeting tight deadlines for the project's accelerated development.

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100 million

Route and grid connection scenarios studied

2000km

Combined length of connection cables across 3 sites

150+

Offshore - landfall - onshore connection permutations taken into account

Introduction

Mainstream Renewable Power is currently developing three offshore wind farms off the east, southeast and west coasts of Ireland. These projects support the Irish government’s 2030 targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Mainstream Renewable Power is one of the leading developers of offshore wind with assets spanning across the globe. It specialises in the development of onshore and offshore wind and solar projects with a 16.8 GW development pipeline.

The company identified an opportunity to accelerate their infrastructure development programmes by leveraging Optioneer’s AI to deliver detailed analysis on millions of route options and grid connection points.

The challenge of analysing complex route scenarios to tight deadlines, before using Optioneer.

Mainstream’s three offshore sites are located in a highly-competitive area of the Irish Sea due to its strong and consistent wind resources. This has attracted offshore wind developers from all over the world.

This places extra pressure on companies to demonstrate due consideration of all possible routing scenarios, both onshore and offshore, to appease the Irish planning regime.

The complexity of connecting offshore windfarms to the grid means studying multiple geographical areas, assessing potential locations for offshore substation platforms, identifying landfalls and finding feasible grid connection points. Hundreds of potential combinations need to be assessed in order to undertake a thorough assessment that planning inspectors demand.

However the process can prove manual and time consuming, with any changes in data or assumptions adding delays and costs to projects. Strict deadlines can prove demanding for companies that need to submit applications which have a good chance of being approved.

Why Mainstream Renewable Power selected Optioneer

With a strict Irish planning regime, competition from multiple renewables developers in the same region and the challenge of managing multiple complex offshore wind developments, Mainstream needed to deliver on a thorough route assessment process whilst avoiding major project delays and overruns.

The company recognised how Optioneer could automate the study of millions of route options in a short space of time, whilst leveraging open source and client data sets to ensure no compromise in a detailed analysis. It was also important that multiple teams could use the platform and collaborate in one place, which is possible thanks to its intuitive interface.

This gave Mainstream more confidence in being able to accelerate their offshore wind projects and submit stronger applications to Irish infrastructure planning bodies.

“We used Optioneer’s AI to efficiently seek the most feasible offshore and onshore cable routes, narrowing down millions of options to a shortlist. We then utilised the platform to further refine these routes, simply and efficiently collaborating across the project team, involving engineering, consenting and stakeholder management along with external consultants – all providing inputs within Optioneer to select the most feasible routes”
Joe Shinkwin
Civil Engineer
Mainstream Renewable Power

How Mainstream Renewable Power used Optioneer

Mainstream had a significant amount of route and grid connection exploration to accomplish prior to a tight deadline. The team employed Optioneer to automate much of this work.

With the help of Optioneer, Mainstream was able to explore millions of options with a simultaneous assessment of environmental, social, engineering and cost criteria.

The platform returned a broader range of options with more detailed analysis on dozens of criterions, to ensure a thorough assessment was undertaken, including onshore and offshore routes.

Optioneer’s collaborative features enabled the entire team to review route data, input into decision making, and refine preferred options in real time, all on the same platform. This helped the team accelerate the optioneering process whilst providing a reliable single source of truth for the project.

“The team were enthusiastic, extremely competent and worked with us to find solutions. The software is very easy to use. It has some really powerful features that are made simple because of a smart user interface”
Leo Quinn
Senior Offshore Development Manager
Mainstream Renewable Power

The result

Mainstream was able to significantly expand the number of potential route options and grid connection points they could study within the timeframe needed, with over 100 million assessed. The company achieved this whilst accelerating its consenting programmes and without compromising on the quality of assessment.

Optioneer delivered an intelligent solution for Mainstream to automate and significantly expand its route optioneering programme, with a collaborative platform that enabled different departments to work together in one digital workplace. The project team were able to decide on a final route shortlist and refine their preferred options, all within Optioneer.

Mainstream Renewable Power
100 million

Route and grid connection scenarios studied

2000km

Combined length of connection cables across 3 sites

150+

Offshore - landfall - onshore connection permutations taken into account

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