Q&A: Facing up to offshore O&M logistics

WORLDWIDE: A reliable operations and maintenance (O&M) programme is key to a successful offshore wind project. This means having the right tools for the job, says Innogy Renewables UK's Adrian Emanuel.

Innogy Renewables UK operates the Gwynt y Mor project off the North Wales coast
Innogy Renewables UK operates the Gwynt y Mor project off the North Wales coast

Prior to Windpower Events' Vessels & Access Forum at the end of April, Adrian Emanuel, Triton Knoll's O&M implementation manager at developer Innogy Renewables UK, spoke to Windpower Monthly about the current challenges for offshore logistics in the industry.

Q. What do you think are the top three challenges for offshore vessels and access operations at the moment?

The biggest challenges are, firstly, recruitment and retention of suitably trained and qualified O&M staff.

Secondly; we have to work out how best to balance vessel design and sea-keeping requirements with in-field operational needs, particularly in the approach to operating assets and air-draft over sailing restrictions.

The third challenge is in maintaining floating wind turbine generators — the main component exchanges are particularly tricky.

Q. What is the hardest part of your job?

The most difficult part of my job is getting my project colleagues to take a long-term view.

O&M requirements are not always at the top of their priority list.

Q. What is the best strategy for carrying out effective offshore operations?

One size doesn't fit all. You need to understand your site and the technology being deployed.

Operators should refine their strategy on that basis and make sure it is fed into the development process at an early stage.

Q. If you had one suggestion to help push the offshore wind industry forward, what would it be?

I would encourage greater knowledge sharing for all aspects of offshore development, construction and operation via industry forums.

Q. At the Vessels & Access Forum in April, you'll be speaking on site readiness for O&M phase operations and the effective porting process. Why is this topic so important?

Lessons learned from previous projects tell us that even a small design change early on in the project life can result in large savings offshore during operations.

Planning and understanding the commissioning requirements can reduce the required vessel time by days per turbine.

The 8th annual Vessels & Access Forum is being held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on 24-26 April. For more information, visit: offshorewindvessels.com

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