Study: No Master Key for Offshore Wind O&M

Image source: ECN

Although Europe has experience and knowledge in O&M of offshore wind farms, the O&M strategies employed in Europe cannot be copied one-on-one in the U.S. or Asia, a recent study carried out by the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows.

The researchers mapped out effective O&M strategies for six potential offshore wind sites in the U.S. The six U.S. offshore sites considered are in the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific and the Great Lakes.

The inputs for wind farm sites and resource characteristics were provided by NREL. ECN’s simulation tool, ECN O&M Calculator v3.0, was used for modelling the O&M studies.

Data was analysed and an optimal O&M strategy for each site and O&M Key Performance Indicators (KPI) determined, including O&M costs and wind farm availability.

Moreover, as an addition to the study, a comparison of O&M KPI’s of the six selected U.S. sites with European offshore farms was also made which showed that there is no one-size-fits-all for offshore wind O&M.

Specifically, the U.S. has various regional aspects like hurricanes and tropical storms in Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic respectively, icing conditions in the Great Lakes and deep water condition in the Pacific, ECN said.

The study also highlights the importance of developing a local supply chain including manufacturing of the vessels for potential markets like the U.S. Else, there can be an expected 18-20% difference in the repair cost between two similar wind farms in the U.S. and Europe.

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