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The High Wind Challenge - How to meet the challenges of offshore wind turbine installation in high winds
Addressing the challenges of offshore wind turbine installation and maintenance in high winds

DEME CEO: Driving down offshore wind costs

Driving down offshore wind costs

In this second of two exclusive interviews with High Wind Challenge, DEME Group CEO Alain Bernard explains why the company invests in innovation and how it contributes to reducing offshore wind costs.

Can you explain the DEME Group’s basis for diversification, particularly into offshore renewables?

The essence is our speciality within certain niches and that we aim to be the best in those niches. Our dredging background has given us knowhow within different areas, such as the seabed, sea conditions and other marine environment factors as well as the associated technologies. We have specialised further in related niches, and without losing the focus of our core knowhow, we have expanded our activities. Continue reading

How to overcome technical constraints of the offshore wind lifting process

Technical constraints of lifting

The lifting process on jack-up vessels is a key process in any offshore wind turbine installation or maintenance project. Control systems such as tagline systems are a necessary part of the lifting setup. Their purpose is to help manoeuver loads – such as wind turbine components – to the desired point accurately and safely.

The most obvious source of movement of a hoisted load is due to inertia and wind. Yet the solutions for controlling these motions are subject to other practical constraints that often make it difficult to achieve sufficient control during the lifting process. Continue reading

Alain Bernard: Why offshore wind needs innovation

20160412, Zwijndrecht, België, Alain Bernard Directeur Generaal van DEME, Dredging, Environmental & Marine Engineering Alain Bernard, CEO, Deme, Zwijndrecht,  20160412122720  CREDIT: ID/ Frederik Beyens

In an exclusive interview with High Wind Challenge, DEME Group CEO Alain Bernard, explains why innovation is needed for the offshore wind industry to advance and that true innovation will only happen with greater collaboration across the industry.

Belgian DEME Group is one of Europe’s largest marine engineering conglomerates. CEO Alain Bernard has seen it grow from a specialist dredging company into a highly diverse maritime business covering hydraulic projects, services to oil and gas companies, installation of offshore wind farms, environmental activities and more.

High Wind Challenge spoke to Alain Bernard about the main challenges and opportunities facing renewable energy. Continue reading

Reducing weather downtime in offshore wind turbine installation

Reducing weather downtime in offshore wind turbine installation

Recent advancements in technology can bring about a long-awaited positive development in the offshore wind industry: reducing weather risk associated with offshore wind turbine installation.

Difficult weather conditions often lead to significant project delays caused by downtime that extends project time and increases costs.

Of course, weather downtime is an unavoidable part of any installation process and must be figured into project costs alongside all of the different activities required of the jack-up, including mobilisation and demobilisation, loading of the wind turbine elements, transit between the port and the wind farm, positioning and jacking, and installation of the turbine. Continue reading

Robust calculation model for offshore wind turbine cost reductions

Robust calculations

The cost of the wind turbine installation setup is an important factor in the quest to reduce the levelised cost of energy (LCOE). Research and development within new technologies is key to making installation quicker, more reliable and safer.

But in order to fully understand the implications of reducing installation setup costs, it is necessary to perform robust calculations. And these calculations must be based on correct assumptions and figures that are as accurate as possible. Continue reading

How to calculate wind effects in large blade lifts

Wind effects

The installation of offshore wind turbine components has traditionally been limited by metocean factors such as spudcan impact during jacking, crane dynamic amplification factors and, of course, wind effects.

Now, a new range of modern, larger jack-up vessels has entered the market, bringing higher jacking windows and heavier cranes. At the same time, foundation sizes are increasing, with the market moving to larger, higher capacity turbines.

Wind during installation can have a big impact on blade installation activities. And this impact will only increase as blades become larger. Continue reading

Risk mitigation through robust offshore wind solutions

Risk mitigation through robust offshore wind solutions

As the offshore wind industry continues gaining in maturity, with more investment commitments across Europe, risk mitigation is becoming an increasingly important area for developers and investors.

Insurance providers have an important role to play, providing not only financial solutions for risk mitigation, but also helping wind turbine installation projects to get on track again in the event of a major incident.

But avoiding such incidents is in the interests of all. Indeed, the offshore wind industry needs to work towards more robust solutions that guarantee completion of offshore wind turbine assembly and repair.

If a claim is made, however, and the insurance provider steps in to complete the installation, it is vital the installation is completed quickly. Continue reading

Reducing weather sensitivity of turbine component lifting significantly reduces LCOE

Download the report

BVG Associates has recently analysed the effects of increasing the wind speed limit for turbine component lifts. The results of this analysis are described in detail in a new report, “Impact of the Boom Lock tool on offshore wind cost of energy”.

The report, available exclusively on this site, quantifies the impact on levelised cost of energy (LCOE) of reduced vessel use and earlier power generation, based on the use of the “Boom Lock” tool.

The report concludes that reducing weather sensitivity of turbine component lifting significantly reduces LCOE. Continue reading

Turning weather risks into a window of opportunity

Manage your weather risk

To improve profitability, offshore wind farms are moving further offshore and significantly growing in size. The latest example is the 1200 MW Hornsea project, located 120 kilometres off the UK coast with more than 170 turbines.

With further offshore locations, more severe weather conditions follow, particularly with respect to wave and wind conditions. Far-shore offshore wind sites in the German North Sea have wind average wind speeds of 10+ meters per second.

From an energy generation perspective, these conditions are excellent. The flip side of the coin is however that the conditions can present a significant challenge during installation and weather remains a critical factor for the project’s success. Continue reading

The great offshore wind paradox

Cracking the nut

The offshore wind industry faces a well-known paradox. It needs wind to generate electricity, but too much wind makes it difficult to create the necessary infrastructure. Quite simply, lifting major components in high winds is one of the biggest issues facing offshore wind turbine installation. Over the years, thousands of days of installation time have been lost, leading to cost increases in the billions of Euros and huge project delays.

Various remedies have been attempted, but the nut still has not been cracked. In fact, I am rather surprised at the half-hearted efforts to address the paradox. Why? Because the impact of weather downtime has far-reaching ramifications in and beyond the industry. Continue reading