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
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
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
The Crown Estate has recently released its report focusing on how jack-up vessels can help bring down costs in the maintenance of offshore wind turbines.
The report, ‘Jack-up vessel optimisation’, studies the significant potential in cost reduction through sharing arrangements and closer cooperation between windfarm owners.
The report can be downloaded from Crown Estate’s website.
It points to evidence of significant production downtime due to maintenance planning and implementation and claims that revenues could be increased by as much as GBP 110 million across currently operational windfarms in the UK.
Even though the report is based on the UK offshore wind market, it is valuable reading for the industry as a whole, particularly within a wider European perspective.
I was very interested to see the three specific recommendations for progressing the concept of a ‘flexible charter club’.
This report also sheds new light on some of the findings in an O&M report commissioned by this site, Offshore Wind O&M, in particular related to the sometimes insurmountable costs of emergency repairs to single wind turbines.
Operations and maintenance in offshore wind is still an underdeveloped market and this report makes a welcome contribution to improving the market’s understanding of the key issues. This is something I have spoken about before and I’m pleased to see the increasing focus on the issue.
Why are there fewer work accidents within teams of people who have worked together for a long time? They might not have documented safety procedures that are consciously followed to the letter, but they seem to have an inherent understanding of what it takes to work together as a team. Whether they’re aware of it or not, people in such groups have all been part of creating a group culture – and a cornerstone of this culture is safety.
Safety is of paramount importance in the offshore wind energy sector. Everyone talks about it and many claim sufficient understanding of safety requirements. But, unfortunately, I believe there are several misconceptions about what this means. Continue reading
The Carbon Trust helps businesses, governments and the public sector with efforts to move to a sustainable, low carbon economy through carbon reduction, energy-saving strategies and commercialising low carbon technologies. The Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) is Carbon Trust’s flagship collaborative R&D programme. It is a joint industry project, involving nine offshore wind developers which aims to reduce the cost of offshore wind through innovation. O&M activities are relevant to several of the OWA’s research areas, including cable installation, access systems and foundations.
I recently spoke to Megan Smith, Associate in Innovation at the Carbon Trust, to ask her what she sees as the main challenges facing offshore wind operations and maintenance. Megan joined the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) in 2013. She manages research projects in a range of areas including optimisation of electrical systems, O&M strategy, and floating LiDAR validation and demonstration.
Here’s what we discussed: Continue reading
The dynamic environment caused by wind and tides at sea is one of the biggest challenges when replacing components on an offshore wind turbine. The operation requires great precision and full control, and this is often at odds with the prevailing conditions.
Proper planning of the operation cannot be underestimated when replacing major components on offshore wind turbines. The many different elements and actors involved can make component replacement at sea a complex issue. This together with managing weather conditions, make planning vital to an efficient process.
When loading offshore wind turbine components onto vessels in ports, the condition of the harbour seabed is an important factor.
Out at sea, currents and wind conditions have a major effect on the positioning of the vessel next to the wind turbine. Dynamic positioning technologies are often very useful.
The preloading process includes testing whether the seabed can support a jack-up vessel’s legs.