Improving the Safety and Productivity of Offshore Wind Technician Transit
A major international collaborative project to tackle the health and wellbeing of technicians during transit to and from offshore wind farms.
Other project partners: SMC, BMO Offshore, Marin and ECN.
One of the challenges of planning operations and maintenance activity for offshore wind turbines is predicting whether sea conditions will be suitable to allow the safe transit of technicians. There is limited information to help marine coordinators decide whether to carry out transits in certain weather conditions, and what vessels to use.
Such decisions have an impact on the safety and wellbeing of the technicians and their ability to perform complex tasks after transit. They also affect site performance: scheduled and unscheduled operations and maintenance activities account for almost a quarter of the lifetime costs of an offshore wind farm.
To tackle this issue, researchers at the University of Hull and Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult are working with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Specialist Marine Consutants Ltd and a range of international partners to create a ground-breaking evidence-based decision-making tool.
It will be based on previously ungathered data including measurements of the motion of crew transfer vessels in certain weather conditions and sea states, alongside the monitoring of the psychological and physiological well-being of the technicians on board.
The tool will then allow marine coordinators to make more informed decisions on whether to go ahead with crew transits.
Optimising how crew transfer vessels make use of ‘weather windows’ to deliver technicians could lower operations and maintenance costs by almost 2%, and increase turbine availability by 0.4%, resulting in a 0.7% reduction in the Levelised Cost of Energy.
It will also enhance the safety and wellbeing of technicians, ensuring that they arrive at offshore sites in an appropriate state to carry out their safety-critical tasks.
By 2020 it is estimated that if this tool is applied across the currently installed fleet of 1,300 Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy 3.6MW wind turbine generators, it could lead to an increase in revenue of €11 million per annum.