University of Nottingham
  • Print

Andrew Jenkins | Kinewell Energy

Bringing more renewable energy ashore

Offshore wind farms must harness energy and transport it to the mainland efficiently to justify their huge set-up costs and compete with conventional power generation. Yet planning how to configure every component to best effect is complex and costly.

Entrepreneurial engineer Andrew Jenkins has developed a business solution that promises to save developers time and money and conserve energy. On land, the electrical grid needs to become smarter too – the topic of Andrew’s PhD research.

Kinewell Energy - Wind Turbines
“Your product doesn’t have to be perfect, just better than what’s there
at the moment.”

Smart power

After his engineering degree in new and renewable energy at Durham University, Andrew spent three years with a multinational consultancy and developed a business idea in his spare time.

When his electrical engineering supervisor from Durham moved to Newcastle University, Andrew joined the research group. “Traditionally, we’ve had a few very large centralised power stations that supply power by matching demand across the UK,” says Andrew.

“With a move towards intermittent renewables located closer to the load, we’re starting to need more localised balancing of supply and demand, utilising flexible loads and energy storage.” So researchers like Andrew are developing control algorithms for flexible loads, such as electric vehicles, to create new ‘smart micro-grids’. His consultancy finds efficiencies out at sea using its KLOC software.

Intelligent planning and design

For several years Andrew has continued to develop his own business idea. Environment YES in 2014 showed him “your product doesn’t have to be perfect, just better than what’s there at the moment.” It also taught him about pricing services and how VC investors calculate equity valuations.

Through its KLOC software, Kinewell Energy designs geographical electrical connections between offshore wind turbines using less cable, with reduced electrical loss. “I’ve created software to do design work better and faster than humans. It takes into account the cost of cable, electrical losses during operation, sea bed conditions and no-go areas – too many variables for a human to visualise.”

At sea, many wind turbines each separated by around 1km connect in strings to an offshore substation, which collects power before sending it to shore. This can require several hundred kilometres of cable. If you connect turbines more effectively using less cable and reducing energy loss, you save a lot of money. The KLOC software saves offshore wind developers up to £30m per GW.

Although KLOC has been developed around offshore wind, it is transferable to large onshore wind, large solar, wave and tidal energy projects.

Worldwide, 300GW of new wind capacity will be added by 2023, driven by emerging markets in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Offshore wind is currently achieving a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) above 25% with 80 GW of new capacity forecast by 2024. The UK is expecting to deploy up to 50GW of wave and tidal energy projects when the technology is ready

Business highlights so far

In 2016, the KLOC software was Highly Commended at the Institute of Engineering and Technology’s annual international innovation awards, in two categories; Power Engineering and Model-Based Engineering.

As of August 2019, Kinewell Energy has grown to a flexible team of seven and this year took on three students as part of the University of Newcastle’s intern scheme.

Andrew and the team have delivered a number of projects at various stages:

  • Confidential client, confidential MW
    Benchmarking study to demonstrate the savings KLOC can deliver against an existing design using client data. Very significant savings were demonstrated.
  • Confidential client, Hollandse Kust Zuid I&II, 700 MW
    Supporting the client in their tender for the project, KLOC was used to optimise the electrical connections for the 700 MW wind farm linking the 80 proposed turbines to the offshore substation. During the project KLOC evaluated in excess of 2.2 billion possible inter-array cable layouts.
  • Confidential client, confidential project, 680 MW
    KLOC was utilised to optimise the radial inter-array layout for the 680 MW wind farm consisting of up to 77 turbines. During the project KLOC evaluated in excess of 2.9 billion possible inter-array cable layouts.

In terms of revenue, the business saw 400% growth from year one to year two and that trajectory looks set to continue.


More info


Top impacts

Optimising to reduce costs
The software reduces offshore wind farm inter-array cable costs by up to £30m per GW of installed capacity over the operational lifetime. Andrew has been involved in the optimisation of inter-array cable systems on projects cumulatively exceeding 6.1 GW.

Faster software
Kinewell Energy was incorporated in 2013. After 2 years of R&D, including redeveloping his software so it’s 310,000 times faster and returns substantially superior design quality, Andrew has launched the service for clients.

Big potential savings
Undersea cable costs upwards of £600 per metre, with turbines separated by around 1 km and a typical wind farm has upwards of 70 turbines; small percentage improvements and deliver significant financial savings.

Reduction in electrical loss
If KLOC was used for all future UK offshore wind farms, an extra 70 GWh of electrical energy would reach the UK each year. That would negate around 27,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually whilst powering about 16,000 homes.


Young Entrepreneurs Scheme

  • Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Nottingham University Business School
  • Jubilee Campus
  • Nottingham, NG8 1BB