The main focus of the OWIM Conference this year was cost reduction in offshore wind installation and maintenance, which would eventually lead toward cheaper electricity generated from offshore wind resources.
Two sessions were held under the title Bringing Down LCOE (Levelised Cost of Energy), discussing lessons learned in foundation, turbine and cable installation, as well as lessening the costs through transport and access. Once again, innovation played a key role in questioning new ways to cut the costs down.
Bringing down LCOE through offshore wind installation
Edwin van de Brug, Commercial Manager at Ballast Nedam Offshore, the company which is working on Baltic 2 offshore wind farm at the moment, said that offshore wind cost reduction can be achieved through logistics, larger turbines, optimized fabrication, and political stability.
Mr. van de Burg stated that Ballast Nedam sees the solution in “learning by doing”. As projects move further and further offshore, there is more awareness of risk, but this risk can be overcome or solved by experience. He presented challenges that the offshore wind industry is facing within different fields, which can be effective bringing the costs down.
The challenges in logistics are resulting in many delays caused by the lack of continuity in the supply of components. For example, a project stops because foundations are not on a vessel, but bad weather also plays a large role in operational delays.
In the installation phase of a project a large challenge to overcome is the time spent getting foundations, for example, from the coast to arrive at the wind farm location when required. Greater cooperation in the planning stages between the contractors and suppliers to increase coordination as early as possible will work towards avoiding all these costly delays.
Olav Arnold, Operation Manager from VSMC, presented several ways to reduce costs: by technique improvement, installation optimization, and choice of the contract form with the intelligent involvement of supply chain.
“Intelligent involvement of the supply chain enables stakeholders to mitigate potential risks, and subsequently reduces overall offshore wind farm costs,” Mr. Arnold said.
Seaway Heavy Lifting’s Richard den Hollander presented on the topic of efficiency development in offshore installation. According to him, this could be achieved with equipment, experience and also the most valuable asset people.
Furthermore, he explained why costs are actually rising, despite other forecasts. The offshore wind industry’s progression into locations further offshore into deeper waters and more exposed areas. “This means lower workability,” he concluded. Offshore wind projects are located in such areas and are therefore less accessible making it much more difficult to work through wintertime.
Also, larger structures in deeper waters present greater challenges for transportation, larger lifting capacity, on and off- shore, with much larger areas for marshaling components prior to shipping to the wind farm location.
Transport and access
Phil de Villiers, Head of Offshore Wind at Carbon Trust, sees the cost reduction via innovation related to deeper waters and harsh environments. He described several vessels that can undertake work further offshore, especially floatels, motherships and in-field vessels. In addition, Mr. de Villiers introduced offshore wind vessels from Fjellstrand, Umoe Mandal, Automotive Engineers, and others.
More information on accommodation vessels the possibilities, their type, design and innovation in this field and their various advantages for differing conditions and work was described, to the OWIM attendees by Cor Hoogendoorn of Holland Shipyards. DAMEN Shipyards’ Peter Robert presented some details of Damen’s new project for a new multi purpose accommodation ’walk to work’ vessel. Although his project will be officially launched later this year at EWEA OFFSHORE in Frankfurt, the OWIM attendees were able to see in which direction the Damen design team were looking for the innovative vessel. At the second cost reduction session, Aernout Goedbloed, Director of Ravestein, presented his company, which has built more than 40 jack-up vessels; and Stefan Leske, owner of Momac, spoke about their offshore access system.
Offshore WIND Staff, October 25, 2013; Image: navingo