Editor’s note: Although the initiative is primarily focused in Europe, lessons learned will be useful to U.S. construction and O&M companies as the offshore wind effort grows on this side of the Atlantic.
The EU has pledged about €1.9 million in a three-year project called ECOWindS to gather knowledge and detail O&M the experience gained from installing, operating, and maintaining offshore wind farms in the UK, Germany, Denmark, and Norway. The project goal is to chop operation and maintenance costs in half. The project will be guided by the Offshore Center Danmark a group described as an innovation network.
The biggest challenge of establishing offshore wind farms is that they are harder to install and maintain than onshore versions. This makes it complicated to produce power at competitive prices, hence the goal of much lower O&M costs.
“The North Sea is where the first, large offshore wind projects took shape and where producers, suppliers, and consultants have gathered their experience,” says Offshore Center’s director Peter Blach. “The North Sea has become the world’s hotspot for offshore wind technology with a record number of new projects in planning stages. This is why we’ve taken the initiative to establish a cross-national development project focusing on how the offshore wind sector can best do research into and develop methods for installing, operating, and maintaining wind turbines. The aim is to drive down costs related to operating offshore wind farms and providing cheaper power for consumers.” The project is also to ensure the survival of many small and medium-size companies, and strengthen European competitiveness in the market for offshore wind turbines. WPE