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A year of sharing knowledge about offshore wind O&M

The first two operational offshore wind turbines in the UK started up TWENTY YEARS ago….that’s TWENTY YEARS that we have been learning about offshore wind O&M. We are now seeing the next round of offshore windfarms begin development in the UK with the Round 4 and Scotwind seabed leases processes underway. Over the last 20 years the way we operate and maintain offshore wind farms has developed and we aim to share with you the lessons learnt, challenges faced and also what we think the future holds….so watch this space for new posts and insights.

A new look for Generating Better

Generating Better SCREEN logo

 

It is approaching two years since Generating Better was created and to celebrate we are proud to share our new logo and website with you.  The website is clearer to follow and makes accessing our news stories easier – plus we have introduced a new Links section to help you to find your way to the most useful information on offshore wind operations and maintenance.  We hope you enjoy the new site – let us have any feedback at renewables@generatingbetter.co.uk

Optimising the use of jack-up vessels in offshore wind O&M

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We’ve been working with The Crown Estate over the last six months to produce a study on improvements to the use of jack-up vessels in the O&M phase. As part of the work we have estimated the number of O&M jack-up operations and also understood from vessel operators and wind farm owners the potential costs savings.

Improved planning can help to reduce downtime and charter costs but there is potential for O&M teams to collaborate to create a clearer maintenance pipeline or even come together to deliver joint campaigns. The report presents case studies from offshore wind and other sectors to illustrate the savings that could be made.

You can find a copy of the report here.

Operations and Maintenance (O&M) – Long Term Priorities for Offshore Wind?

From my time working on site as an Operations Manager it is never easy to escape the day-to-day management of issues that is a really important part of the role.  Since forming Generating Better I have been able to spend more of my time considering the longer term game changers that will take O&M to the next level in years to come…

….I would welcome your views on what could big the biggest game-changer and contribute to the reduction in lifetime costs of offshore wind. Here are some of my favourites:

1) Life extension studies to create viable options before the end of the currently accepted 20 year design life

2) Huge leap forward in failure prediction – especially for main components that require a jack-up vessel

3) Component improvement clubs to re-engineer problematic parts and improve reliability – driven through a collaborative approach to pool knowledge, experience and share costs

4) Extended Service periods / condition-driven service tasks

5) Improved vessel access to allow faster repairs and extended capabilities to lift heavier components safely without resorted to a jack-up vessel

Post your comments here and let us know what you think are O&M Game changers for Offshore wind….we will publish you Top Ten in June

Strong Winds and no let up!

It has been fantastic to see wind leading gas at times over the last month.  There have been some fantastic generation volumes from operational offshore windfarms this month.  But with the strong winds and little let up in the weather many of the O&M teams I know are reporting record inaccessibility to offshore wind farms.  High production levels are very welcome and demonstrate offshore wind is contributing to the UK energy mix.  But to capitalize on this and be truly successful you need to keep your turbine reliability high.  Generating Better will be releasing a series of articles in 2014 to show you how to do this focusing on:

  • how to be “repair ready”
  • increasing role of remote monitoring
  • proactive maintenance – how to deliver success
  • the role of computerized asset management systems
  • spare parts re-engineering to improve reliability

What does successful operations & maintenance look like?

When the construction vessels have moved off site, handover is complete and the transformers are humming away, the O&M team take over and it will be down to them to deliver the financial returns (and CO2 savings) that were promised to owners, investors and other stakeholders at the project planning stage.

Successful O&M on an Offshore Windfarm does not happen by magic so here are 10 top tips for successful Operations and Maintenance in Offshore wind.  Over the coming months we’ll focus on each of these in more detail…so check back often to learn more…

  1. The O&M concept and strategy needs to be agreed and planned during the earliest part of the project development stage and all decisions about the windfarm project need to be seen through “O&M eyes”.  Have a clear and early strategy for OFTO requirements too.
  2. Form a core O&M team early and bring in a range of disciplines – build the team with a focus always on your key goals for the operational phase.  Don’t be afraid to bring in people from other sectors – their experience can be hugely valuable and they can bring new dimensions – focus on attracting people with the right attitude
  3. Develop an understanding of what data you want to collect from first energisation – imagine you end up with no OEM support at the end of the warranty phase – what do you need to know to run the site well?  Collect information on spare parts used, labour hours worked and causes of breakdowns (and the most effective repair solution!) throughout the O&M phase including the warranty period
  4. Understand your data and processes before deciding what computerised system you need and before taking part in any demos – ensure you know what your need is and don’t get seduced by “features” you don’t need
  5. Start with a flexible transfer vessel strategy before committing as you need to understand the conditions, capabilities and performance of these key assets so you can minimise repair times and transfer people safely
  6. Encourage local companies to work with you to develop new services – the further your key contractors have to travel the less flexibility you will have to use them during periods of poor weather / changeable weather – local is best and also benefits the local economy too
  7. Make your plans flexible and plan for periods of good and poor weather.  Planning is key to fast repairs which in turn increase income and profits.  Before handover make sure you also make and track operational readiness plans
  8. Use the time before handover to really understand compliance issues – these can be varied and include grid compliance, H&S law, local port requirements, lease clauses, OFTO agreements, consent conditions as well as commitments in your maintenance agreements and warranties – you will never get this time again so use it wisely and ensure the whole team has a good understanding of compliance issues
  9. Get to know your stakeholders and help them to get to know you better – effective relationships are the key that can open a seemingly locked door.
  10. Finally, make sure everyone knows what success looks like and celebrate your successes as a team!

Generating Better is now up and running

logo1I am delighted that Generating Better is now up and running and has today launched its website.

I am proud to be supporting Operations & Maintenance in the renewable energy sector as this is key to ensuring that projects make it off the drawing board and into the real operational world successfully by maximising output, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing the best possible return for investors.  So if you’d like to talk through your ideas to Generate Better then please get in touch.