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The lifting process on jack-up vessels is a key process in any offshore wind turbine installation or maintenance project. Control systems such as tagline systems are a necessary part of the lifting setup.
In an exclusive interview with High Wind Challenge, DEME Group CEO Alain Bernard, explains why innovation is needed for the offshore wind industry to advance and that true innovation will only happen with greater collaboration across the industry.
Recent advancements in technology can bring about a long-awaited positive development in the offshore wind industry: reducing weather risk associated with offshore wind turbine installation.
The cost of the wind turbine installation setup is an important factor in the quest to reduce the levelised cost of energy (LCOE). Research and development within new technologies is key to making installation quicker, more reliable and safer.
The installation of offshore wind turbine components has traditionally been limited by metocean factors such as spudcan impact during jacking, crane dynamic amplification factors and, of course, wind effects.
As the offshore wind industry continues gaining in maturity, with more investment commitments across Europe, risk mitigation is becoming an increasingly important area for developers and investors.
BVG Associates has recently analysed the effects of increasing the wind speed limit for turbine component lifts. The results of this analysis are described in detail in a new report, “Impact of the Boom Lock tool on offshore wind cost of energy”.
To improve profitability, offshore wind farms are moving further offshore and significantly growing in size. The latest example is the 1200 MW Hornsea project, located 120 kilometres off the UK coast with more than 170 turbines.
The offshore wind industry faces a well-known paradox. It needs wind to generate electricity, but too much wind makes it difficult to create the necessary infrastructure. Quite simply, lifting major components in high winds is one of the biggest issues facing offshore wind turbine installation. Over the years, thousands of days of installation time have been lost, leading to cost increases in the billions of Euros and huge project delays.
Offshore wind now accounts for about 7% of European renewable energy generation. Most of this new capacity has been built since 2015. Although the rate of growth has been slower than many expected or hoped, it is still a significant shift in the way Europe generates electricity. The change has been biggest in the UK, where offshore wind now generates about 5% of all its UK electricity demand.