National Renewable Energy Centre

Integrated Certification

With Quality, Environment and Health and Safety systems up and running, Narec undertakes certification in order to demonstrate excellence. Narec provides R&D, consultancy, test and demonstration facilities for the renewable and electrical power sectors. Narec assists the renewable energy and power industries in evolving technology systems and electrical networks to accommodate the changing characteristics of energy resources and usage.  Narec upholds high industry standards for testing and certification. Since opening its first facility in 2005 Narec has undertaken independent testing of wind turbine blades up to 50m in length for a number of leading manufacturers. A new facility capable of testing blades up to 100m is being built for the offshore wind industry and will be commissioned in early 2012.  This £15 million facility will receive public investment of £11.5 milion from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Energy and Climate Change. 

Platform for innovation
  Narec, based in Blyth, Northumberland, is a proven innovation partner to the power sector; helping its clients literally to ‘test the water’ before proceeding to full-scale production with renewable technologies. Narec’s wind and marine services include blade prototype testing, wave technology, and testing for submersibles (a category which includes subsea pipes, cable protection systems and associated underwater equipment). When the centre was set up, the management team built and implemented systems for health and safety, environment and quality; closely modelled on the requirements of each relevant certification. 

Systems offer control; Certification demonstrates it 
Geoff Richardson, Narec’s Safety, Health, Environment and Quality Manager explains: “Being a start-up organisation the priority was to get our Health and Safety Management System up and running. We had a clear two-stage strategic approach. Having the control systems in place was the critical first stage; a reflection of the caring nature of our organisation as well as the priorities of our stakeholders. With the systems established, and adoption by all personnel assured, we were then able to proceed to the second stage, demonstrating our commitments to our stakeholders. The certifications would enable us to show that we are doing the right thing, in the right way. DNV’s direct and long-standing experience in our field enabled them to bring considerable insight to the audit and certification process.” 

Alignment between systems and goals 
Peter Potter, Lead Auditor, DNV, says: “Every service Narec offers is designed to have a positive effect on the environment. When DNVwere engaged to pull all three certifications together, the environmental formed the backbone of our approach - offering synergy and consistency across systems that may otherwise have had slightly disparate goals. We believe that Narec really appreciated the closer alignment we were able to achieve.”  DNV’s Risk-based Certification™ approach encourages clients to identify core focus areas which, whilst not necessarily unique to their business, merit priority treatment in the auditing process. The approach helps clients derive true operational benefit from a process that may simply be viewed as an administrative task by staff, if it were not given the direct relevance that comes from focus areas. Among the specialist areas of focus DNV identified in conjunction with Narec senior management have been production efficiencies, and the management of contractors and their compliance with Narec environmental licenses in areas such as effluent discharge. 

Sharing concerns 
Geoff Richardson says that the choice of independent auditing organisation was not dictated by cost: “We wanted synergy - a partner who shared our concerns and would understand how to respond to the risks that lie at the heart of what we do.”Next stage Helen Edge, from Narec’s marketing function, explains the next stage of development: “Narec’s proposed offshore demonstration facility for pre commercial prototype offshore wind turbines will be unique in global R&D terms - enabling manufacturers and wind farm developers to learn new approaches across the supply chain for the development, deployment and O&M of new turbine technologies.  “These new and existing facilities will allow us to offer an unrivalled service to energy industry partners; necessitating rigorous observation of safety measures, and quality systems. Significant investment decisions often result from what we do and our operations are constantly being observed by our clients’ financial partners. All our practices have to be best in class.”  DNV has enabled Narec to go beyond certification in bringing all three certifications together: ISO 9001 (for quality), ISO 14001 (for environmental impact) and OHSAS 18001 (for occupational health and safety). This process has helped create a well-defined focus at the centre of Narec’s operations. The demonstration of best practice, through integrated certification for quality, environment and health and safety, reassures all stakeholders that a responsible strategy is in place.  DNV’s extensive experience in this specialist industry sector helps drive such reassurance. 

Competitive advantage 
“Being able to demonstrate integrated certification in quality, environment, and health and safety gives us a significant competitive advantage when presenting our services to new clients. A commitment to the standards they drive offers clear evidence of our commitment to recognised best practice.” Helen Edge, Marketing Executive - Narec