Offshore wind energy will play a key role in stimulating growth and investment in Europe over the next decade. Moreover, Europe, as a first mover, is set to gain significant benefits from exporting both products and services as offshore markets around the world develop. This can be achieved if the offshore wind industry can reduce costs to levels comparable to other energy sources.
A new European FP7 project, LEANWIND, seeks to address inefficiencies in logistics and transport issues for offshore wind installations and so contribute to the reduction of costs. LEANWIND was awarded to a consortium of 31 partners from 11 countries and is led by Beaufort Research in University College Cork (UCC) Ireland. This project received funding of €10million from the European Commission and has a total value of €15million. LEANWIND will run for four years.
The UK offshore wind sector is set to benefit through the participation of Lloyd’s Register Energy, the industry’s foremost authority on managing risk.
Lloyd’s Register Energy is leading a work package on novel vessels and equipment with the aim of identifying and tackling technical issues to achieve cost reduction in the installation and maintenance of offshore wind farms. Lloyd’s Register Energy and partner organisations will be using design, numerical analysis and experimental testing to examine new or modified vessel designs and equipment innovations.
Rebecca Sykes, Marine Energy Leader for the renewables division of Lloyd’s Register Energy said: “We are pleased to be partnered with a number of stakeholders across the supply chain for this project including utilities, wind farm operators, service vessel builders, installation vessel operators, experimental testing facilities and research institutions.
“The challenges of offshore wind remains in reducing the overall cost, the opportunity to identify new vessels and technologies that better control costs and improve operational results is paramount, together with an understanding of the associated risk. We see this project as an important step forward for the industry’s future development.
The LEANWIND project seeks to reduce costs for offshore wind farm developments and make offshore wind competitive with traditional energy sources. LEANWIND will look at new ways to transport components, manage and organise ports efficiently, adapt fixed and floating turbine structures to aid installation and consider new technologies for wind farm maintenance.
The work programme will apply “lean” principles to streamline procedures and develop new technologies and tools to improve efficiency, and will thus address current and future industry challenges to help make offshore wind a competitive source of energy. The focus of the work will be in the areas of substructure and vessel design, wind farm logistics and economics, operation and maintenance, health and safety and business models.
A principal aim of the project is to develop niche markets, thereby creating sustainable long term employment in offshore wind for European shipping industries.
For more details go to www.sintef.no/Projectweb/LEANWIND/