New verification challenges as offshore wind expands

Mass installation of turbines will lead to greater scrutiny, says GL

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Moving to mass installation of offshore wind turbines will require a step change in third-party verification in order to maintain safety and reliability, the head of GL Renewable Certification’s research and development (R&D) division has told Windpower Offshore.

"We have to be in a position to consider and certify any new idea that comes to the market. This is necessary to make offshore wind acceptable not only to the authorities, but also to insurance and financing institutions," explained Kimon Argyriadis, speaking at the European Wind Energy Association’s industry event in Vienna.

Quality assurance needs to shift more decisively from design to production and installation, added Argydiaris. "With new offshore wind farms coming online, we have to adapt quickly to inspect at all levels on time, at short notice, and at the highest quality level," he said.

GL recently issued updated guidelines for offshore wind turbines. These replace a previous set that dated back to 2005. The new guidelines have the "the same look, but revisions in every paragraph", said Argyriadis.

The new guidelines cover the full range of offshore wind-related topics, providing greater focus on bigger turbines and deeper-water installation as well as capitalising on the experience that has been gained by the offshore wind industry in recent years.

An additional note on hydrodynamic analysis may be forthcoming in a year’s time, added Argyriadis.

Certification body DNV, which is due to merge with GL, has issued its own guidelines that focus on offshore turbine support structures. The two companies are already cooperating on R&D, to which GL has committed 5% of its renewables division budget.

Competitor certification body Bureau Veritas also published new offshore turbine guidelines last month.

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