Improved Operational Decision-Making Tools for Offshore Wind Farm Maintenance
The Innovation Exchange programme is working alongside Scottish & Southern Electricity Renewables (SSER), the operator the Beatrice and Greater Gabbard offshore wind sites. SSER wishes to engage innovators to find a more advanced way of managing scheduled and unscheduled maintenance on offshore windfarms.
Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch their innovation to SSER. Selected solution(s) may be trialled at SSER sites, with the possibility of further roll out if trials are successful.
SSER is a leading developer and operator of renewable energy across the UK and Ireland, with a portfolio of around 4GW of onshore wind, offshore wind and hydro. SSER has the largest offshore wind development pipeline in the UK and Ireland at over 6GW and has an onshore wind pipeline across both markets in excess of 1GW.
Efficient operation of offshore wind farms is essential, to ensure profit is maximised but also to maintain a high level of Quality, Health and Safety (QHSE) on site. For example, a single, unplanned, essential trip to an offshore wind turbine might cost a wind farm operator £1-3k in vessel hire fees, £2-5k in personnel costs as well as any associated overhead and fuel costs. The wind farm operator also takes weather risk, so any days where the vessel cannot go out due to high sea states, or Weather Days, are another cost to bear. A typical single 5MW turbine might also generate revenue of £1-3k per day so it is critical to maximise uptime.
Wind farm servicing and maintenance is either scheduled or unscheduled. Routine servicing and maintenance is required on a regular basis and is driven by component-specific requirements. Unscheduled maintenance is required due to failure or damage of a component.
Where possible, any works that can be forecast and scheduled into routine visits, vastly reduce the cost of Operations and Maintenance (O&M). Combining this with an understanding of weather and future energy yield can offer great insight to an operator trying to optimise energy production on site.
Planning of maintenance works remains a largely manual process in many cases, with staff using available data from multiple sources to make subjective decisions on optimal maintenance processes. Whilst experienced staff can be very accurate in this manual planning process, with a future pipeline of complex offshore wind sites, which must operate on tighter margins, there is a need to move towards holistic, accurate and consistent objective planning systems.