Offshore technicians perform essential scheduled servicing and unscheduled maintenance of offshore wind turbines. Planning operations and maintenance activity is challenging because it is difficult to predict if sea conditions will allow turbine technician transfer via crew transfer vessels (CTVs) as well as marine operators having a limited source of information for making this decision. An added challenge is ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the technicians as they are transported in what can be very rough sea conditions because they have to perform complex tasks once transferred to the turbine. Unscheduled O&M activities account for almost a quarter of the lifetime costs of an offshore wind farm. A significant part of this cost is due to failed crew transits or workers having to abandon their missions due to dangerous and unpredictable sea conditions.
Supported by the EU-funded DemoWind Programme, SPOWTT provided a forecasting and monitoring tool to help match future assets to the environmental conditions.
Advanced planning tool
The project took a novel approach by using digital technology to create a decision-making tool that will allow marine coordinators to make a more informed decision regarding crew transfers. The SPOWTT project measured in parallel the motion of crew transfer vessels in certain weather conditions and sea states, as well as the psychological and physiological well-being of the technicians onboard. The SPOWTT project received significant interest from industry including participation from five wind farms, 10 crew transfer vessels and over 2000 technicians.
This project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs via its “TKI Wind op Zee” (Topsector Energie) initiative. SPOWTT started in 2016 and was closed in 2020.