Second edition annual Offshore Wind Access report shows rapid growth available offshore wind access systems

Thursday February 8, 2018 15:07

The report Offshore Wind Access 2018 provides an overview of existing and future access systems for offshore wind farm installation and operation & maintenance (O&M). Last year’s edition has been updated and contains new solutions entering the market. The report shows the fast development of offshore wind access systems and how they impact the offshore wind operations and strategy.

What is offshore wind access?

Offshore wind farms in Europe are moving further from shore in order to capture more favorable wind conditions. However, this creates additional challenges regarding their operation & maintenance (O&M). Transfer of technicians to the wind turbines is the most important factor of weather downtime during maintenance activities, leading to high loss of energy production. Accessibility (the percentage of time technicians can be safely transferred to offshore wind turbines) can drop to less than 80 percent during winter months in a typical North Sea location. This has driven research towards improved logistic concepts and innovative access systems.

Based on the point of access, the report identifies three categories:

  • Access to the boat landing
  • Access to the platform of the transition piece
  • Access to the hoisting platform on top of the nacelle.

Besides the conventional method of access to the boat landing through Crew Transfer Vessels (CTV), motion compensated gangways on deck of Service Operation Vessels (SOV) have entered the market during the last decade, moving the maintenance base offshore. The report shows the growth of this market in alignment with the needs for more efficient and safer transfer of technicians as well as cargo, such as spare parts, tools and materials.

Do you want to know more? Download the Offshore Wind Access 2018 report.

How ECN can help you reduce costs of O&M?
Assessing the impact of various O&M strategies and access solutions on the performance of offshore wind farms requires dedicated scenario modelling considering the interactions with other factors such as: component failures, metocean conditions, weather operating limits for vessels and equipment, availability of access systems, vessels, equipment and spare parts and technicians working shift patterns.

The in-house developed tool “ECN O&M Access” provides the framework for offshore wind farm operators to optimise the O&M strategy depending on site-specifics and supports the decision making regarding the selection of the optimal access solution. It allows vessel and access system designers and developers to investigate the impact of their designs/systems on the wind farm availability and O&M costs.

For more information about ECN services on offshore wind O&M strategy and modelling, or for R&D cooperation on the subject of accessibility, please contact us via our contact form.

Category: Corporate, Wind Energy