Offshore wind farms have a number of key assets that require protection through a wide range of operational procedures. There are a multitude of external factors that pose challenges to the operation of an offshore wind farm, relating to the construction of the wind turbines, the operation and maintenance of the farm once operational, personnel and vessels and of course the location and local environment and weather patterns.
The operators and marine co-ordinators of an offshore wind farm are in a critical and time sensitive position. The perfect way to protect offshore wind assets is to be able to quickly identify potential issues, using accurate and up-to-date data and information in order to make fast decisions.
Having myriad issues happening at any given moment in time is a matter of life when it comes to the coordination and management of an offshore facility and this decision-making timeframe is crucial. Accurate data and a complete understanding of the surrounding environment helps to protect offshore wind assets by providing the tools to highly skilled individuals in positions of power and the authority to make critical decisions.
Preventing Collisions Around the Wind Farm
One of the most serious issues that could damage an offshore wind asset involves the potential for collisions. A collision with a vessel is a real possibility without careful management of the surrounding waters, the navigational routes to shore and out to sea, and a complete understanding of the wind turbines. The damage incurred from a collision, for both vessel and wind turbine, as well as potential injuries and fatalities to any personnel doesn’t bear thinking about.
The cost of a collision to the offshore wind asset could lead to downtime for repairs and maintenance that costs the project money. Quite often a collision will occur due to insufficient on-board systems on the vessels in question, or because of a fault with steering or propulsion systems causing them to veer towards an offshore wind farm. Early detection of these types of problems is key to preventing them.
Variable Weather Patterns
Another major challenge to the management of an offshore wind asset is that of the weather. There are so many variables that can have an impact on the smooth running of an offshore wind farm. For maintenance and the travel of personnel and equipment to and from the asset there has to be safe weather to allow passage. Accurate data of the immediate area and transport routes in the water is crucial to ensure that whatever downtime is necessary is worked around and disruption minimised. Weather patterns that can affect the running of offshore operations include wind levels, currents and waves, any ice and visibility issues.
The best way to maintain as much control as possible over all of these aspects and to have a security over the management of essential offshore wind assets is to implement ac accurate and high-tech marine management system. Linking a number of assets into one system, with accurate data to see problems before they occur and to prevent collision and damage to the asset provides peace of mind to project managers and owners.
Article Written By George Arleen