Atlas Professionals is aiming to be the leading HR service provider in the offshore wind industry. The company’s portfolio is already impressive when considering that Atlas has played a role in nearly all of the wind farms built in the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark since 2008. Its involvement can range from providing a single Project Manager to a whole cable lay team of more than 40 professionals.
Around 30% of the company’s E200 million turnover is directly or indirectly related to the wind industry and this share is growing.
However, it is more than business driving the company, Peter Wit, Atlas COO stresses. Inspired by former US President Barack Obama’s words: "We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it," Peter says Atlas is looking beyond business ambitions.
“Collectively as a society, we have to make a turn and must assist our clients in making that turn as well. We truly believe that we should play our role helping the world to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement goals. And as such Atlas is open for roles a step beyond merely delivering the professionals required.”
From Consent to O&M
Atlas’s professionals can be seen in nearly all aspects of a wind farm’s development, from seabed surveys and installation, to cable laying and Operations & Maintenance activities. “Our people range from clients’ representatives, crews of supply vessels, marine coordinators – they are in almost every conceivable role.”
Speaking from the company’s offshore centre of expertise in Bristol in the UK, Martine Rondeel, Commercial Manager Renewables, explains: “Until 2012, Atlas mainly focused on cable lay activities but now we have extended our services of supplying manpower to all phases of a wind farm cycle. These encompass Consenting & developing, Installation and the O&M phase.”
Atlas can bring in specialist teams from its global centres of expertise and the offices work closely together to find the optimum solution for our clients. For example, the company’s geotechnical and geophysical survey experts are based in Newquay in the UK, while Vic, near Barcelona, can provide mammal observers, and Banbury provides experienced ROV and diving teams, whilst Odessa, Riga and the Netherlands are centres of excellence in providing offshore and marine crews.
Martine highlights a major contract Atlas was awarded from Danish green energy giant Ørsted in 2013. “Here we have more than 50 people employed all year round. There are personnel throughout the supply chain.
“We can be involved in the same wind farm from different angles through different clients. Through solid partnership with our clients, and our extensive experience we are able to support our clients in this fast-paced and reactive industry.”
In the last two years, the O&M activities are ramping up in the wind industry, she adds, and this is emphasised by Ørsted’s contract award last year whereby Atlas will support its O&M activities in Germany, the UK and Denmark.
Additionally, Atlas can help with support and advice during the initial concept phase. “This is where we can differentiate ourselves from other agencies. We support our clients with their tenders, correct pricing for future projects, as well as tax and legal advice on their global projects. We aim to develop longer term partnerships over the entire project cycle and this is received very well by our clients.”
Asia to the US
As well as its strong presence in the European offshore wind market, Atlas is assisting its clients much further afield, in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, India, Vietnam and the US, as these markets start to develop. The company also established a Joint Venture in Australia with Programmed which will support the growing offshore wind industry in Australia and New Zealand. “For example, through our regional office in Singapore, we are assisting Ørsted with the 120MW, Formosa Phase 2 development,” Peter says.
And as offshore wind farms start to get off the drawing board in the US, he believes Atlas can play a role in transferring a lot of knowledge from oil and gas into renewables. The company has a branch in Houston and is well used to finding the skilled people needed for projects in the US market.
Both Peter and Martine are very optimistic about prospects for the sector. “While the traditional oil and gas markets will remain for quite some time to come, they will not have the growth they enjoyed in the past. In the offshore sector, renewables are the ‘New Future’, Martine says.
Peter comments: “I think there is simply no choice but to look towards the wind industry. The world has collectively agreed the way forward in Paris. Global warming is no longer an abstract concept, we all see its impact.
“Once the infrastructure is there, wind power represents the cheapest total cost of energy available. When considering the speed with which we have seen the costs come down, this is an incredible testament to the supply chain in this industry, and Atlas will continue to supply a competent workforce for it. Ultimately, we have to have enough energy without destroying the planet, and wind is part of the answer!”