O&M opinions and insights for the offshore wind industry

Offshore wind energy can be competitive

Offshore wind energy can be more competitive if the logistic costs are reduced, states new research just out.

Research findings indicate that logistics makes up at least 17% of offshore wind OpEx costs. Innovations and cost savings are needed to ensure that wind energy can be competitive with other renewables as well as more traditional dark energy forms. A great example of an extremely relevant support industry to wind energy is that of shipping and logistics.

Significant logistics efforts are required

To operate and maintain a wind farm for up to 25 years, significant logistics efforts are required and this is the topic of an academic journal article produced by Thomas Poulsen, Charlotte Bay Hasager, and Christian Munk Jensen. Their research presents findings within the area of O&M logistics and brings forward new analyses of government sponsored studies of wind farm levelized costs of energy.  The conclusion is; logistics is a significant cost driver within the 20-25 year life-cycle phase of offshore wind but cost savings are possible

“Asset management is not an easy task and nowhere is it more challenging than for wind turbines operating in the harsh sea environment located offshore. In our latest research, we look at the logistics related to the operations and maintenance of offshore wind. Our research is based on a 20-month case study with team members from various companies and organizations operating within the offshore wind industry”, Thomas Poulsen says.

Research reveals

He further explains that using an example of 1 in 5 business cases produced in an industry-wide cost reduction initiative in a Danish setting, the research reveals that practical cost-out measures are feasible within the area of O&M. A comparison of 11 largely government sponsored cost reduction studies reveal that logistics costs are not commonly agreed upon nor easily defined. Further focus is needed to improve on this important area.

“We found that there is great disparity between how calculations are made, what is included/excluded in the calculation assumptions, and how actual results are computed. These findings make the studies biased at best and therefore very difficult to utilize. We dove deeper into the area of logistics with an analysis and perused the pertinent details of all the studies, concentrating on the Operational Expenditure with a focus on operations and maintenance. Again, we found that the studies varied greatly even for cost line items that – within the field of logistics – ought to be fairly straight forward and easily comparable,” reveals Thomas Poulsen.


Read more

If you wish to download the full journal article for free using open access, please use this link:http://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/10/4/464/htm

Taking offshore safety further than ever before with Service Operation Vessels

Article courtesy Siemens TheEnergyBlog

2015 marked the beginning of a new era in offshore wind power, when Siemens Wind Power Service christened the first of two purpose-built Service Operation Vessels (SOVs). Now one year on we take a look back at the 1st year to find out how the vessel has performed and how those who use them every day feel they have improved their working lives at sea. In this article we follow up with Andreas Geißen, who is one of the Environmental Health & Safety Officers responsible for ensuring the day-to-day safety of the teams who service the wind farm from this pioneering and floating offshore base. Continue reading

Why cable failures are so costly

Why cable failures are so costly

Cables are the achilles heel of the offshore wind industry; a majority of insurance claims are related to cable failures. Easy to break, hard to fix, as repairs always require an expensive repair vessel and spread.

In the event that an offshore wind farm loses one of its (typically) two export cables, the largest loss will be due to lost revenue, although the lost generation is probably less than 50% of potential output due to periods of low wind speeds, and also due to the fact that export cables can be specified to carry more than half of the wind farm capacity. Continue reading

Report calls for lower outage time

The offshore wind industry has paid little attention to outage time. This claim is made by MAKE Consulting in a recently released report about offshore wind O&M in Northern Europe.

The report describes that turbines are becoming larger, with the current average of 3.9 MW expected to increase to 5.9 MW by 2020. But this means that losses associated with downtime will become even more costly, particularly from failure of major components. As a result, service providers are forced to implement strategies to reduce downtime from major component failures. Continue reading

E.ON launches new offshore wind O&M strategy at Scroby Sands

In what could signify a crossroads for the offshore wind industry, E.ON has internalised the O&M of offshore wind turbines at Scroby Sands. I spoke recently with Scroby Sands’ Operations Manager Keith Cooke about it, who told me the warranty period for these turbines was coming to an end, and instead of renewing the warranty, they decided to take on the maintenance themselves.

Of course, there are implications of taking on maintenance in this way. There’s a lot to learn and we, as O&M partners to the offshore wind industry, can provide a lot of value and have an important role to play. Continue reading

How to establish a safe offshore wind jack-up foundation

Establishing a safe foundation is a vital part of jack-up operations. The jack-up vessel needs to be supported by an absolutely solid foundation during the entire jack-up operation at any given site. As the vessel is jacked up, the weight is carried by the legs and onto the seabed. The seabed must be able to provide the necessary support. If it doesn’t, there is potential for disaster.

There is always some risk, even if extremely slight, associated with this and it’s important to take all the necessary steps to mitigate these risks. Continue reading

Political instability stands in the way of lower prices

As long as politicians delay long-term plans within sustainable energy and threaten to reopen the energy discussions at a political level, it’ll be impossible to reduce offshore wind energy prices.  The offshore wind and energy sector as a whole has a high-risk profile. Financing isn’t easy to come by, and certainly not if there is concern over the political framework.  Continue reading

Better cooperation across the offshore wind industry will help reduce costs of wind energy

Reducing costs of operation is critical to the long-term future of offshore wind energy. We need to see more cooperation between utilities, turbine manufacturers and vessel operators in optimising contracts, resources and standards across the industry if we are to see the efficiencies the industry demands.

A recent report on the offshore wind industry commissioned by OffshoreWindOM.com highlights the significant cost savings available. Digging deeper into the research behind the report, there are several important factors that will help drive the industry to the next level. Continue reading