Get it right the first time and save a lot of time and money. The right and proper contract for a wind farm is the roadmap to a solid business case. This calls for knowledge, insight, understanding and, importantly, dialogue on both sides of the negotiation table from utilities and developers.
Today’s wind projects cannot rely on a standard contract from the wind turbine manufacturer. The costs of capex and opex are so high that there has to be a robust contract that secures an investment that should stretch beyond 20 years. Continue reading
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
To reduce the costs of wind energy generated by offshore wind parks, there needs to be a greater degree of ‘certainty’ in the offshore wind industry. What I mean by this is a commitment to contracts and agreements that allow the necessary investments throughout the supply chain.
A lack of certainty makes it difficult to reach the cost reduction goals that everyone in the industry is looking for. 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.
Long-term commitment is needed in order to reduce operations and maintenance costs in the offshore wind industry. This sort of commitment provides the certainty that allows suppliers to the offshore wind industry offer the best possible rates and terms. Continue reading
After a decade of focus on installation, the industry is now turning its attention to operations and maintenance. Over the coming years, wind farm owners and turbine manufacturers will want to realise more from their investments by ensuring equipment runs efficiently for as long as possible.
So I was highly interested to read the Guide to UK Offshore Wind Operations and Maintenance, in which DNV GL (formerly GL Garrad Hassan) presents comprehensive insight into the O&M market for offshore wind in the UK.
This guide is an excellent piece of work and highly recommended reading. We can thank Scottish Enterprise and The Crown Estate for commissioning this study. I spoke to Oscar Fitch-Roy, one of DNV GL’s authors of the guide, to learn more about what they wanted to achieve with it.
In 2003, Dong Energy operated 200MW of wind projects offshore. Ten years on, its operating capacity has grown tenfold. The utility is now using its experience to develop maintenance processes that are setting the standard for the current round of projects.
The offshore wind industry is a paradox. Like the bumblebee flying, it should not work, but it does, says Lars Thanning Pedersen, head of asset management and markets in wind power at Danish utility Dong Energy. “If you saw a list of everything that could go wrong, you wouldn’t have started. But you solve problems as you go along, and we are now at the point where we can say that we can achieve a reliability of production that is close to onshore, albeit at a higher cost,” he says. Continue reading
The vast majority of offshore wind turbines stand on monopile foundations below the sea’s surface, and these foundations demand significant maintenance. But those of us who work with this area often feel the maintenance task isn’t really given enough attention – right from early planning phases through to the operational phase.
Sub-sea inspection teams and their advanced equipment focus on examining the effects of sub-sea forces such as tidal currents and alerting wind farm owners and operators to necessary measures to preserve their investments. Typically, an ROV or a team of divers is used to take a look at what’s happening underwater. Continue reading
We are now at a time when the offshore wind industry needs to change. More than ten years after the first large-scale wind farm was commissioned, the industry has an important role to play in reducing the costs of wind energy.