Mechanical engineering

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Mechanical engineering focuses on the technology that generates power and revenue from renewable energy sources. These engineered devices constitute the highest value and largest share of capital and operating costs on renewable power projects.

Our mechanical engineering services specify, evaluate, develop and check the implementation of the engineering concepts, technology, supply contracts, installation, commissioning and operation of these prime movers, along with mechanical balance of plant. We are focused on ensuring that the solutions are robust, cost-effective and suited to the project through each stage of development.

The mechanical team comprises degree qualified and chartered mechanical engineers. Each team member brings a combination of extensive renewable energy experience and best practice, including from other demanding industry sectors such as manufacturing, aviation, marine/offshore, thermal power, process and nuclear engineering.

We work extensively with independent project developers and utilities as well as renewable device manufacturers and developers to provide an independent and authoritative evaluation of their product and compliance with market requirements.

In addition we provide expert input to strategic studies for companies, investors and development agencies in both the private and public sectors.

The work that we do aims to reduce uncertainty and risk related to:

  • New or unproven technology, suppliers or manufacturing facilities
  • New applications of technology
  • Project costs, revenues and programme
  • Safety, environmental and regulatory compliance.

The mechanical services that we provide are critical in completing the three primary phases of any renewable power project:

  • Achieving financial close
  • Achieving energisation and power export
  • Maximising revenue and reducing losses.

Ultimately the services help protect business finances and reputation, the environment, and safety of individuals.

Technology evaluation

The objective at this stage is to shortlist technologies and specific models which are technically suited to the project, present acceptable technical and supply risk, and which should perform adequately over the design life of the project.

Technology evaluation may comprise a standard technology review or detailed engineering and quality assessment of the wind turbine model, or other energy device, and the manufacturer. We will propose an appropriate level of assessment depending upon how well established the technology is, and its track record.

This work is supported by our knowledge management system which captures our own and wider industry experience of all major large scale wind turbine models, and keeping up-to-date with their development.

Tender specification and evaluation
Our engineers work to specify and evaluate the key high value contracts for wind projects, including the wind turbine supply agreement (TSA) and service and availability agreement (SAA), ensuring that all key terms are covered in accordance with good practice.

The specific stages in defining the contracts may include:

  • Prequalification of suppliers (particularly in emerging markets)
  • Invitation to tender technical requirements schedules
  • Tender evaluation using our developed EPC, TSA and SAA evaluation tools
  • Contract negotiations support.

We can draft the technical requirements schedules for invitation to tender, providing high value through use of our established templates, tailored to suit the project characteristics and legal form of contract.

Similarly our tender evaluation tools ensure that all key aspects are checked for acceptability and are compared between tenders on a rational, objective and transparent basis.

These services, although most frequently applied to wind energy projects, are readily transferable to other forms of renewables.

Wind turbine contract negotiation

Wind turbine contract (TSA and SAA) negotiations can be demanding and our mechanical engineers have taken many projects through entire contract negotiations as the owner’s sole technical representative. Our team know the critical terms required to protect the owner and for acceptance by the banks as well as the terms that are not worth pursuing.

Design and quality assessments

Design and quality assessments may be undertaken at the following stages of a project, and are important to ensure that the contractors’ activities and deliverables are controlled and suitable for the project:

  • Technology screening or evaluation
  • Tender evaluation
  • During contractor’s performance of the contract:
  • Design phase documentation review
  • Factory or site acceptance tests
  • Ongoing monitoring during site engineering
  • Leading up to completion.

The services typically comprise review of the following:

  • Type or project certification to ensure it adequately covers the site conditions (wind regime, temperature etc.)
  • Design suitability for the project such as transportability to site, reliability and maintainability
  • Design and quality standards
  • Quality arrangements including sub suppliers and track record
  • Safety track record
  • Quality, safety and environmental plans
  • Inspection and test schedules
  • Completion by contractor of quality plans, inspection and test records, health and safety file (FAT and SAT witnessing)
  • Completion of reliability run
  • Snagging lists.

Standards compliance

Emerging technology, suppliers or markets often require targeted reviews of compliance with industry standards, good practice, and regulatory compliance. SgurrEnergy impartially undertakes these reviews which aim to complement rather than substitute third party type and project certifications. This provides a technical check that important design or quality aspects will meet the needs and expectations of project owners, investors and regulators in the local market, and recognised international norms.

Our engineers have particular expertise in assessing compliance of wind turbines with UK safety regulations, including UK interpretation of European directives and the ALARP principle.

Manufacturer visit and assessment

When assessing manufacturers, our team supplements the detailed assessment with visits to the manufacturer to check critical aspects such as:

  • Blade design, manufacture and inspection
  • Drive train design, component specification, supply and testing
  • Hub and nacelle assembly arrangements
  • Capability, capacity and state of manufacturing facilities
  • Capability and capacity for regional operational support
  • Implementation of quality management arrangements.

This is undertaken through face-to-face technical briefings with the manufacturer’s key technical experts and management team as well as inspection of the manufacturing facilities and components and inspection of quality records completion.

Tests on completion and acceptance of wind turbines

Confirmation of completion stages is undertaken to support transfer of funds at payment milestones. This may include:

  • Witnessing FAT and SAT
  • Checking condition of wind turbine components and towers on delivery to site or in transit
  • Checking completion of installation and commissioning
  • Checking performance over the reliability run
  • Reviewing and expediting snagging lists and advising on take-over.

As a minimum we undertake full review of the reliability run data for compliance with the contract, and review the acceptability of the snagging list, generally with a walk-down of many if not all of the wind turbines after the reliability run.

For more information on how our engineering team can support your project, or to speak to one of our team, contact us.