Addressing the challenges of offshore wind turbine installation and maintenance in high winds

Business case: Increasing maximum wind speeds for offshore wind installation

Business case: Increasing maximum wind speeds for offshore wind installation

Maximum wind speeds have a significant influence on costs and time required for offshore wind turbine installation projects. The maximum wind speed is the speed at which it is no longer possible to lift major turbine components (nacelle, tower and blades) by a jack-up vessel. The restricting factors are crew safety and equipment damage due to instability of the load during the hoist.

Kate Freeman and I recently performed an analysis of the main factors contributing to project delays and cost increases. Importantly, we have also analysed the impact of increasing the maximum wind speed – such that lifts can be performed at higher wind speeds. We looked at the potential savings by being able to complete offshore wind turbine installation projects in higher wind speeds. 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

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