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HOW TO MAXIMISE EFFICIENCY IN OFFSHORE WIND

July 3rd 2020

As the world transitions from fossil fuels to clean energy sources, development in technology and increased investment in renewable energy production has been undeniable. The offshore wind market has grown from strength to strength, and will have an important role in moving to a clean energy future. Efficiency in both cost and performance is a top priority.

Houlder supports the drive to utilise renewable wind energy, and maximising its potential. To achieve this, all stages of the process must be considered, from designing the most efficient turbine, to maximising the amount of equipment on the vessel per trip to optimise the cost of wind farm installation. Throughout the entire process, considerable experience is needed to engineer solutions which facilitate safe, timely, and cost-efficient delivery for offshore wind customers to continue the reduction in development costs driven by the industry.

However, with progress comes challenges. Over the last twenty years, this has been evidenced by the size of offshore wind components, such as turbines and blades, growing considerably often quicker than the vessels built to install them resulting in higher risks during the installation process, as vessels are pushed to their limits.

When it comes to seafastening, there are many factors to consider to ensure a safe and efficient process. For example, the payload onboard is almost always pushed to the limit and the vessel loading conditions must be checked to ensure the vessel is going to operate within allowable limits. Additionally, bespoke vessel motion must be calculated to determine the loads the equipment will impart into the vessel hull as the vessel rolls and pitches while at sea. The length of the blades and sometimes monopiles means that they overhang the limits of the vessel hull, and so additional green water analysis is conducted.

All these challenges require significant analysis to ensure a safe and efficient transit and installation. When analysing this, the engineers must understand how to conduct the analysis effectively, but also the options available when an allowable vessel limit is exceeded.

Mark Goalen, Offshore Engineering Director, Houlder, comments: “No doubt we’ve seen a significant acceleration in offshore wind farms, in both the size and quantity of these renewable energy projects. Experienced practical analysis is essential to ensure proper securing and sea-fastening of high-value cargoes to guarantee the success of a project.

“Houlder has specific experience in vessel design, vessel hydrodynamics, stability, and structural design. As a trusted consulting partner to the marine sector across multiple industries, such as oil and gas, MOD, cruise, ferries, and renewables, we are well placed to support the accelerated transformation of the offshore wind space, unlocking efficiencies and promoting continued growth.”

Houlder has a detailed understanding of the offshore wind operating environment, having supported projects for customers including Siemens Gamesa, Jan De Nul, and GEOSEA. For more information on some of these projects, please click here.