Mayflower Wind, the developer of a proposed New England offshore wind project, draws from the deep experience and skills of its sponsor companies, Shell and Ocean Winds North America. Ocean Winds is itself a joint venture between EDP Renewables (EDPR) and ENGIE.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts wants low-cost energy, and that is exactly what Mayflower Wind seeks to deliver. Mayflower Wind executed 20-year power purchase agreements in January 2020 after winning a highly competitive solicitation process. The developer expects to deliver clean energy from the project by the mid-2020s.
Mayflower Wind’s goals support those of their sponsors. Shell strives to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner. Ocean Winds has a target of reaching 5-7 gigawatts (GWs) of offshore wind projects in operation or construction and 5-10 GWs under advanced development by 2025.
In addition to the environmental benefits, Mayflower Wind is also committed to creating jobs and lowering energy rates for lower income customers.
“Mayflower Wind’s goal on the job front is to train Massachusetts residents at every level of the offshore wind industry – from turbine installation, operation and maintenance, to project management – in order to inspire and equip tomorrow’s offshore wind workers.”*
Mayflower Wind is all about efficiency. Michael Brown, CEO of Mayflower Wind, who leads the lean and capable team, understands the importance of process and technology to achieve success. Each person and role are critical to the overall success of the project. “The most important person” depends on what is happening on the project at that time.
A renewable energy veteran, Brown’s background includes working on offshore windfarms in Europe. He knows control and visibility are essential – as well as the need to have policies and tools secured to manage decisions, relationships, and ensure quality.
The energy veteran considers Oracle Aconex to be the best platform to manage the Mayflower Wind project, which is located around 30 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and 20 miles south of Nantucket. Early in planning, Brown led the effort to implement the construction documents management solution as the central information and process management system.
The early timing of this decision prevented issues around migrating data and system adoption. Now, in the development phase, there are already 35 organizations and 200 users collaborating on the Oracle system.
Brown and his team hire numerous critical companies and individuals who made significant decisions to help deliver the high-profile project. Oracle Aconex helps document those decisions, capturing all information into the project record.
Brown also understands the importance of document control – and the need for early implementation of project technology.
“Getting the tool up and running, and having the staff using Oracle Aconex from the time they join the project, eliminates any issues with adoption and starts the project off on the right foot,” says Brown.
The Mayflower Wind CEO is also taking the long view on this project with a planned asset life of 30+ years. It is critical that the wind farm operate as efficiently as possible to maximize the life of the equipment.
Information is key to this success. Team members will move on and operations will need access to the full project record.
“Five years down the line, many of the people working on the project will be gone, but all of the information will still be here, easily accessible through Oracle Aconex."
-Michael Brown, CEO, Mayflower Wind
Brown is driven to maximize the benefits and value of Mayflower Wind’s investments. That drive influences his many decisions, including technology selection.
“Oracle Aconex has become the reference solution for offshore wind projects. It is the industry standard,” he says. “Why not use the Oracle solution wherever we can?”
The relationship between Mayflower Wind and Oracle Construction and Engineering has been beneficial to both parties and to the project.
“It is exciting and rewarding to partner with Mayflower Wind. The progressive company, focused on providing clean energy solutions, has identified unique uses for the Oracle solutions resulting in a leading-edge implementation,” says Craig Stavert, area vice president, Oracle Construction and Engineering.
Given the tool’s flexibility and configurability, Oracle Aconex can easily and effectively manage information, communication, and workflows across any aspect of the project, such as permitting and financing, and throughout all the cross-organization team members.
“Oracle Aconex is all anyone on the project knows. It is embedded in the DNA of the project,” says Weronika Nowak, document control manager for Mayflower Wind. Members are brought up to speed on the Oracle system as they join the team.
Teamwork and informed decision making are critical to Mayflower Wind’s success. It is a collaborative environment, modeled by Brown. Having one central project system matches the project mindset.
“Everything is managed through Oracle Aconex,” says Nowak. “It was very beneficial for our organization to have the system up and running so early in the process.”
Mayflower Wind cannot risk having critical project information lost in someone’s email or on their hard drive. Having ownership of their project data to create a full project record will decrease the developer’s risk.
In addition, owning data will improve performance throughout project development, execution, and the asset’s entire life, producing an expected volume of half a million documents.
“Nothing happens without Oracle Aconex. It is second nature to our team."
-Michael Brown, CEO, Mayflower Wind
The project is exposed to external auditors for events such as tax equity closing on internal financing. Mayflower Wind must show and justify why decisions were made.
“Oracle Aconex is the solution to do that,” says Seth Kaplan, director of governmental and regulatory affairs at Mayflower Wind. “All decisions are documented in Oracle Aconex. It is our project system of record.”
The data structure within the Oracle system provides equal protection and functionality for owners and contractors. Each organization has their own secure space where they easily share the information they want - with the individuals and organizations they choose to share with.
“As an administrator with the owner organization, it is valuable that contractors can use the system the same way we do. All parties benefit from the system equally. The workload is distributed amongst all document controllers on the project,” says Nowak, Mayflower Wind’s document controller.
The Mayflower Wind project requires comprehensive permitting and approvals at the federal, state, regional, and local government levels. The developer said they quickly saw return on their investment in Oracle Aconex when preparing work on the necessary federal permit.
The workflow included over 1,000 workflows, about 100 massive documents, and 116 different workflow templates supporting both linear and parallel workflows across four to five organizations.
“It is hard to even imagine managing the permitting process without Oracle Aconex,” says Nowak, who feels they reduced the time needed to route and track the permitting reviews by 60%.
"It took just a few minutes to set up each template, including the appropriate participants. In two hours, all 116 workflows were set up. Comments could be easily consolidated in just one click, as all reviews were managed using Oracle Aconex workflows," says Nowak.
There is a clear record of everything that is sent and received, and there is always a recorded transmittal. The final permit application was even submitted to the federal government agency through the Oracle solution, eliminating the need for a hard drive or hard copies and being assured of receipt.
Since Oracle Aconex is a project-wide solution, there is no need for extra licenses or a separate instance to share information between organizations. Mayflower Wind now has a full record of the decisions and decision-making process in an unalterable audit trail.
This capability is incredibly valuable for future audits, investor reporting, and throughout operations – on top of the time savings and reduced errors from automating this process. The developer is responsible for making good decisions and executing on those decisions.
“Recording and justifying those decisions is important, and Oracle Aconex supports that need,” says Kaplan. The Oracle system is key to documenting decisions and linking related correspondence.
As a developer planning to be involved with this project - not just throughout development and execution, but also through decades of operations, Mayflower Wind sought a technology partner with stability and assurance of supporting their project in the long term.
The teamwork between Mayflower Wind and Oracle has pushed the envelope, resulting in a significant win for both organizations.
“It is an honor to support leaders like Mayflower Wind who are at the forefront of bringing clean energy and new jobs to the U.S.,” says Joe Castner, vice president, Americas, Oracle Construction and Engineering. The appreciation of the relationship between Mayflower Wind and Oracle is mutual.
“Oracle provides great support. Support Central (the Oracle Aconex online support site) is fantastic. 90% of the time, when I get internal or external inquiries about the Oracle system, I can share the link to the appropriate page in Support Central, and the issue is resolved,” says Nowak.
“I’m confident that we would require a significant amount of additional manpower and time if we didn’t have Oracle Aconex,” says Nowak.
Mayflower Wind is set up for success. Mayflower Wind is ensuring effective project delivery by leveraging Brown’s experience and setting up robust processes, governance, and data structures at the start of development.
In part two, we’ll explore how Mayflower Wind leverages building information models (BIM) to ensure optimal design and execution of their complex wind turbines.
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