wpd offshore goes for service vessels
Smooth service on rough seas
Offshore wind energy can make a significant contribution to securing energy supply. To achieve this, however, wind turbines must be reliable and affordable. Due to their location at sea, offshore wind projects have higher planning, equipment and installation costs. Also, operation and maintenance are more expensive under the harsh conditions at sea and far away from shore.
According to the IRENA’s 2017 renewables cost report, fixed and variable operating costs can account for as much as 20 to 25% of the levelized electricity cost of an offshore wind project. By improving our service efficiency, we can help our customers achieve optimal performance from their wind turbines and help advance the competitiveness of offshore wind energy for the future.
The wpd group – a partner for the development, financing, construction and operation of wind farms on land and at sea based in Germany – knows that in order to lower offshore costs, it is especially important to save money on turbine maintenance.
That is why wpd commissioned Siemens Gamesa not only to supply 80 3.6 MW offshore wind turbines, but also to provide a tailor-made concept for the maintenance and repair of the Butendiek wind power plant. wpd’s Butendiek wind farm is located off Germany’s North Sea coast, and with a total capacity of 288 megawatts it has supplied some 370,000 households per year with ecofriendly electricity since 2015.
To enhance the quality of service and reduce the costs of electricity, Siemens Gamesa developed a service ship that can stay out at sea near the Butendiek wind park for several weeks at a time. The service operation vessel, or “SOV” for short, is equipped with cutting-edge technology and can accommodate up to 40 service technicians.
The SOVs can do two things that normal service ships can’t do: They can stay in the wind park even in rough weather and wind conditions, and – thanks to the hydraulic bridge – they can reach the turbines more often than is possible using normal entry systems. Today, this makes them the most effective way to service offshore wind power plants.
Unstable weather conditions, rough seas, and long distances to the coast can make offshore service costs difficult to calculate for wind power plant operators. Siemens Gamesa’s Service Operation Vessels (SOVs) rise to this challenge: They help make the new generation of offshore wind power plants more efficient and profitable.
Siemens Gamesa is assuming a pioneering role in this sector and was the first in the industry to introduce these new purpose-built SOVs. The Butendiek vessel can be used to render service and maintenance for offshore wind turbines, providing the following features:
- Accommodation for 40 technicians: Because full manpower is always on board, service is performed more quickly, thus helping to reduce downtime.
- 305 m² on deck and capacity for 8 containers: room for storing spare parts and all the necessary material on board.
- Up to three weeks at sea: Daily transit is time-consuming and costly for wind farms far from shore.
- 10 hours of work during a 12-hour shift: Always being on site means that technicians have more time for actual maintenance work.
- Only 10 to 15% of weather related downtime: SOVs can safely withstand the harshest conditions even in winter.
- Wave heights of up to 2.5 meters: Thanks to a hydraulic gangway, technicians can safely “walk to work” even in rough weather.
This ultimately enhances the quality of service and, thus, the reliability and availability of the wind turbines at the Butendiek wind power plant.