Q&A with Maria Kalogera about her role at CrossWind
DOB-Academy (De Oude Bibliotheek) interviewed Maria about her role at CrossWind. What does she love about her job? And what makes working at CrossWind so challenging? In this Q&A you will learn more about CrossWind and how you can get involved in this wonderful project.
Who is Maria?
Hi, I’m the Innovations Manager at CrossWind. I’ve worked for offshore projects across four countries in Europe and Asia over the past nine years. Now I live in the Netherlands, but I’m actually originally from Greece – we’re traditionally great travellers. My background is in Electrical Engineering and it’s my Master’s studies at TU Delft that brought me to the Netherlands at first place. I’m passionate about realising emerging technologies that will help the world’s energy transition. And I always want to find cost-effective ways to deal with energy resource scarcity in a responsible way. My work in the CrossWind team combines all of this. So, I have found my dream position within the CrossWind Team!
What is your position within the CrossWind team?
At CrossWind, I am accountable for developing the innovations scope of the project. The innovation portfolio is one of the main differentiating factors, that distinguishes the CrossWind offshore wind farm and what makes it so special compared to all other operational offshore wind farms. Together, with our highly motivated, skilful team, we will demonstrate that a renewable power supply will be more flexible and more balanced. This will be demonstrated by the following innovations work packages: intelligent wind turbines, wind farm flow control, floating solar, a short-term battery storage and long-term storage via green hydrogen. The project will deliver these innovations, fully integrated together, delivering a truly flexible, robust and scalable renewable energy solution to Dutch society. In other words, we will be providing a sneak peak of what future offshore wind farms could look like, how exciting!
Can you tell us something about the set-up of the CrossWind team?
CrossWind is a joint venture of Shell and Eneco and has been established for the purpose of developing and operating the Hollandse Kust (Noord) offshore wind farm. We are a dedicated team of more than 35 full-time professionals collaborating together and tapping into the expertise of subject matter experts of our shareholder organisations, external consultancies and engineering houses in order to ensure that we deliver a safe, high-quality project under tight timelines.
Our motto is: We deliver. We innovate. We share.
Considering the flow of information, can you give us an insight into what is planned this year to update interested parties?
CrossWind is currently working on awarding contracts for the innovations scope of the project. We have recently signed the Dynamic Wind Farm Flow Control agreement with, among others, TU Delft, and the floating solar contract with TNO. Finally, we are also close to selecting the engineering concept for our offshore hydrogen and battery storage facility. Interested parties are welcome to frequently visit our website and our social media channels, as this is where we provide updates on the project.
What CrossWind event are you looking forward to this year?
I look forward to meet our team and innovation partners face to face again, it’s been a long time!
Will there be additional focus on Offshore Wind students?
Absolutely! We work closely with TU Delft on Wind Farm Flow Control and the system integration project. Please keep an eye on TU Delft’s job postings since a number of PhD students and Post-Docs will be recruited in order to help us realise our innovation goals. For offshore wind enthusiasts, this is an amazing opportunity to get involved in this truly unique project.
When do you expect things to really take off?
We are already in full swing! We are currently at the peak of the detailed design phase of the project, later this year (2021) we will start with the building and supply of the foundations, inter-array cables and wind turbine generators and in 2023 we will start constructing the wind farm. We anticipate that we will have the wind farm fully operational by the end of 2023 and by 2025 we will have started demonstrating our five innovations. So many milestones to come!
CrossWind and DOB Academy together will be responsible for the knowledge dissemination of the project – how did you come into contact with them?
The DOB Academy is a well-known institute among offshore energy professionals, so we already have a working relationship in that respect. The DOB Academy focuses on enhancing knowledge-sharing, which is one of CrossWind’s three key pillars: we want to share our knowledge and lessons learnt through the construction of this wind farm.
What is something surprising new you learned about offshore wind since the start of CrossWind?
That’s a good question. Personally, I feel that I‘m in the right industry at the right time. Fighting climate change and navigating the decarbonisation of our energy transition amid the COVID-19 crisis comes with many challenges. You can see how fast the global movement for renewable energies is. It comes with new learnings, each, and every single day. Be it organising ourselves, working virtually while building one cohesive team; the challenges of deploying new technologies; managing consumers and shareholder expectations – all that requires us to be flexible, agile and ready to adopt new ways of working.
Which challenges has the project faced and how has it overcome this?
The first challenge that comes to mind is building ‘one team’ in the middle of COVID-19. The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we operate, and it seems that remote and hybrid working models are now our new reality. This shift was rather sudden but with the help of the team, the structures, the processes and the technological means we are able to manage our work effectively and efficiently in these rather turbulent times.
What can people do to learn more about CrossWind and offshore wind energy?
You can visit our website, follow us on LinkedIn or reach out to our project mailbox with your questions, remark, observations, and suggestions. All correspondence is routed to the relevant person or department.
How can people get involved in the project?
Our project presents a fantastic opportunity for organisations, research institutes and individuals to get involved. If you feel that your contributions can help us make a difference, please reach out and we would be happy to discuss further with you.
How often will you update all those interested about the CrossWind project? And which media will you use?
We aspire to bring a wider audience along in this journey and as such we will be providing regular updates on our project, monthly in any case. We will use our website, mostly LinkedIn, and possibly other channels later on in the project.