Typically, you would like to plan your floating wind farm far offshore. The environmental and, above all, societal impacts seem to decrease in proportion to the distance from shore. The chances of being granted a permit are better in remote areas. You will have to accept the disadvantage of long travel and transport times. Another disadvantage is that you cannot use the seabed as a foundation for your wind turbines and jack-up vessels.
If you acquire wind turbines that do not fail during their lifetime, your challenges are limited to the construction phase. However, let’s be realistic. We know parts of the generator will require maintenance and occasionally need to be replaced. Fortunately, the industry has developed technologies to overcome these challenges.
Lifting floating to floating
One of the toughest challenges is lifting. Some marine equipment can lift to the nacelle. Some can lift the generator or the gearbox. However, such equipment is scarce and will fail unpredictably. The costs involved will leave you no option but to wait for other components to fail as well so that you can bundle the critical lifts into one subcontract scope.
The industry is working hard to come up with hybrid solutions. Conbit is one of the frontrunners, with a concept of temporary lifting equipment installed at the nacelle. This equipment lowers the component for transfer to a construction vessel. The lifting equipment and a suitable construction vessel can arrive at any remote site to execute the replacement procedure within days.
Accommodation and access
The walk-to-work market is developing rapidly. The combination of accommodation and access is in high demand, especially in the offshore wind market. The standard walk-to-work vessel accommodates sufficient staff and has favorable characteristics for safe and efficient people transfer.
For remote wind farms, this might not be suitable. Owners of floating wind farms are requesting an EPC approach to their unplanned maintenance activities. The perfect vessel for a replacement job will have:
- the required lifting capacity
- sufficient deck area to accommodate both the old and the new component(s), as well as the installation equipment
- enough beds for the required project crew.
Conbit’s Integrated Projects approach
Cost-efficient maintenance of remote floating wind farms requires a turnkey approach, whereby a single party is responsible for realizing the complete scope of work. There should be a streamlined interaction among different subcontractors to ensure that the wind turbine is up and running as soon as possible. The resources identified to complete the scope must be optimized and used effectively to minimize costs.
Conbit has extensive experience in this kind of project. We are not dependent on our own marine assets, and we can act fast to meet any requirement of our clients. Our in-house engineering enables smooth decision-making at an early stage of the project. The selection of expensive equipment (such as a construction vessel) can be based on the specific project requirements. Conbit’s Integrated Projects approach minimizes over-allocated resources.