On the 14th October 2015 Cranfield University hosted the first REMS annual conference, with over 40 attendees from industry and academia. The conference focused on the REMS Centre’s three key research areas: structural design and integrity, manufacturing and geotechnics. Presentations from REMS academics and industrial partners ran alongside presentations from the first cohort of REMS students, highlighting the close working practice between industry and academia which is a key feature of the REMS Centre.

It was a huge honour for the REMS Centre to have Andrew Garrad of DNV GL open the conference with a powerful keynote speech, considering both the vast progress wind energy has seen in the last three decades, and its huge potential for the future. Dr. Garrad also highlighted the crucial role politics plays, alongside technology, in the continual development of the renewables industry.

Students from the first cohort of the REMS Programme summarised their current and future research in presentations throughout the day, giving insight into the breadth of research within the centre. These presentations were particularly informative for the second REMS cohort, who have recently joined the programme and will begin their own research in January 2016, following an induction term in Cranfield this autumn. A poster competition for the first REMS cohort also ran throughout the day, and congratulations go to Peter Houlston who won the poster competition with his poster entitled ‘Modelling of monopiles in clay using FLAC3D’.

Presentations from REMS academics on the SLIC project (Prof. Feargal Brennan) and the PISA project (Prof. Harvey Burd and Prof. Byron Byrne) were also highlights of the day. It was very interesting to hear about the progress in these joint industry projects, both of which aim to redefine design methods for offshore monopile support structures and help reduce the levelised cost of offshore wind energy.

The conference concluded with an expert panel Q&A session, providing a platform to discuss both the challenges faced by the offshore renewable industry and the development we can expect to see in the coming years. We look forward to building on the success of the first REMS annual conference with a larger event next year to accommodate for the continual growth of the REMS Centre.