iX Challenge: Improved Operational Decision-Making Tools for Offshore Wind Farm Maintenance
The Innovation Exchange programme is working alongside Scottish & Southern Electricity Renewables (SSER), the operator of the Beatrice and Greater Gabbard offshore wind sites. SSER wishes to engage innovators to find a more advanced way of managing scheduled and unscheduled maintenance on offshore windfarms.
Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch their innovation to SSER. Selected solution(s) may be trialled at SSER sites, with the possibility of further roll out if trials are successful.
Efficient operation of offshore wind farms is essential, to ensure profit is maximised but also to maintain a high level of Quality, Health and Safety (QHSE) on site. For example, a single, unplanned, essential trip to an offshore wind turbine might cost a wind farm operator £1-3k in vessel hire fees, £2-5k in personnel costs as well as any associated overhead and fuel costs. The wind farm operator also takes weather risk, so any days where the vessel cannot go out due to high sea states, or Weather Days, are another cost to bear. A typical single 5MW turbine might also generate revenue of £1-3k per day so it is critical to maximise uptime.
Wind farm servicing and maintenance is either scheduled or unscheduled. Routine servicing and maintenance is required on a regular basis and is driven by component-specific requirements. Unscheduled maintenance is required due to failure or damage of a component.
Where possible, any works that can be forecast and scheduled into routine visits, vastly reduce the cost of Operations and Maintenance (O&M). Combining this with an understanding of weather and future energy yield can offer great insight to an operator trying to optimise energy production on site.
Planning of maintenance works remains a largely manual process in many cases, with staff using available data from multiple sources to make subjective decisions on optimal maintenance processes. Whilst experienced staff can be very accurate in this manual planning process, with a future pipeline of complex offshore wind sites, which must operate on tighter margins, there is a need to move towards holistic, accurate and consistent objective planning systems.
The challenge is to deliver a cost-effective method to improve the decision-making process for offshore logistics and work planning at operational offshore wind farms.
Proposals are welcome for cost-effective solutions in a variety of forms, including:
- Data driven methods to target offshore visits effectively
- Decision making capabilities based on live production forecasting & weather inputs
- Scheduling which maximises production of the wind turbine
Chosen solutions may be invited to trial at SSER sites and if trials prove successful could see uptake for maintenance planning across SSER sites.
Wood Mackenzie established that the offshore wind O&M market will grow 16% annually to US$12 billion (£9.69 billion) by 2029. A conservative 1% saving on O&M costs would imply an annual market size of £96.9m by 2029, representing a large opportunity for a successful solution provider.
Entrants to this competition must be:
- Established businesses, start-ups, SMEs or individual entrepreneurs
- UK based or have the intention to set up a UK base
Partnerships and consortia of organisations are welcome to apply to this competition.