UK launches offshore data sharing initiative

UK: In a move to bring down the cost of offshore wind energy, a new initiative has been launched to create a database for sharing anonymous offshore wind farm performance and maintenance data.

The UK has the greatest installed offshore capacity in the world

The UK's Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and the Crown Estate, which manages the country's seabed, have committed £850,000 (EUR 1 million) to the system performance, availability and reliability trend analysis (Sparta) project.

Under the programme, wind farm operators will be able to share the "robust and reliable benchmarked data", which will be compiled anonymously.

The Crown Estate said the project is being established with the aim of "helping to identify operational improvements and cost reduction opportunities at both company and sector-wide levels".

Initially, Sparta will be developed for UK projects, but it is intended to be rolled out to include international projects.

The project was inspired by a similar programme that has been used by the Norwegian offshore oil industry since 1981.

Offshore wind farm operators Centrica, RWE, SSE, Statkraft and Statoil have already offered their support to the project and are participating in a steering group to ensure data is fed into the database on a monthly basis.

A pilot project will run until March 2015, after which a full-scale implementation of the reporting system is planned.