Software set to generate interest from offshore windfarms

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An Aberdonian project planning consultancy has developed a ground-breaking tool that aims to save offshore wind farm owners time and money and increase productivity during their development.

Cambla, based in St Mary’s Court, Huntly Street, is now looking for a renewables owner to test its Repeater software for free, using the feedback given to ensure the program arms the industry with precisely what it needs before taking it to market in spring. 

The firm, which has been helped by Business Gateway Aberdeen City & Shire, has spent the last year developing the tool, which allows businesses to rapidly model the construction of each project option so that informed decisions can be made when selecting the final scheme based on logistics and budget. 

The software not only saves owners time at the early stages of project development, it has the potential to provide more options to be reviewed.

Alexander MacLeod, owner, Cambla, said: “Our focus has traditionally been on the oil and gas industry, but during the downturn, we realised we needed to look for opportunities to diversify because when the oil runs out, it runs out. Renewable projects by their nature are cyclical, and in 25 years time turbines will need to be replaced and the whole project planning process will start again. That highlighted an opportunity for us to develop a tool specifically for the offshore renewables market.

“Repeater is multifaceted and has been designed to help companies take a project forward quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively from the very early logistical stages right through to installation. One key feature allows projects to create a complete installation schedule based on a template for a single turbine that is repeated and automatically makes dependencies between each turbine and calculates weather impacts. This takes a matter of minutes. Currently, if you are installing wind turbines, you need to input an installation plan for each and every turbine so if you have 100 turbines you have to manually copy and paste the same template 100 times, which can take days.  

“The software has been developed as far as it can. Now it needs to be tested in a real-world situation, and that is why we are looking for a company to use the technology for free so we can use their feedback to refine it. Ideally, we’d be looking to work with one of the owners of the three offshore wind farms – Seagreen, Inch Cape or Neart na Gaoithe - that have recently been given the go-ahead to progress as consented in 2014.”

Having worked in oil and gas planning for over 20 years, Alexander launched Cambla in 2013 when the industry was booming. He believes the firm survived the downturn by remaining flexible and because they consistently produced high-quality work.

Now, Cambla, which employs four full-time staff and works with two further associates, is using advice from Business Gateway to expand its client base.

Alexander said: “Back in the boom days we had too much work and didn’t need to sell ourselves, but we’ve had to change with the times and learn how to attract new clients. Being on Business Gateway’s growth pipeline has been very helpful as it has given us access to tailored support including an IP audit. We’ve also benefited from 1:1 support through the DigitalBoost programme. Most recently, The Structured Sales Process seminar filled a gap in our knowledge and armed us with a new way to approach sales. We’re now embarking on a sales drive, using the information given in the course which will go a long way to help us achieve our goal of doubling business over the next five years.”

Gordon Mackay, Business Gateway, said: “A lot of businesses in oil and gas never had to think about sales, but following the downturn, they have had to change how they operate and differentiate themselves. Thanks to our support and the recent sales advice Alexander has been given he has restructured his sales process and is confident that, coupled with the unique software they have developed, they will achieve their desired growth over the coming years.”

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