Cutting maintenance costs for offshore wind farms using improved forecasts

Hard winds, strong currents or high waves. Maintenance vessels for offshore wind farms often have to stay in port, or return to shore, when bad weather suddenly blows in. The resulting costs for the dozens of offshore wind farms in the North Sea are high. Operations and maintenance costs account for almost one third of the kWh price of offshore wind farms.

Windcat Workboats

Meteo Dashboard

To reduce those costs, Deltares produced a web-based dashboard that provides forecasts two days in advance covering wind speeds, wave heights and currents for individual offshore wind turbines. It is an operational decision-making system that draws on detailed operational forecasts. These predictions are generated by computer models that have been in operation for years at Deltares and that are continuously improving all the time, for example by means of data-model assimilation. Another strength of the system is that it provides direct access to current monitoring data, for example from buoys located in the vicinity. Everything is integrated in a single system and can be easily extended to include other flows of data sources, such as those from the SCADA system. In that way, wind-farm managers can make better decisions about whether to go to sea and which turbines they can work on.

Research programme accelerates development and cuts costs

Deltares has been involved for some years now in the FLOW research programme (Far and Large Offshore Wind energy). The aim is to accelerate the development of offshore wind energy, and to reduce the associated costs. The wave and current dashboard is a part of FLOW and it contributes to the reduction of the cost price for offshore wind energy.