Power Generation / Preventive Maintenance

Perspective: For offshore wind power, the time has come to focus on structural maintenance

By Anne Gourlay and David Foxwell, for Offshore Wind Journal

Oct 25, 2017

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It’s obvious that, as assets age, maintenance costs tend to increase. Now that there are significant numbers of wind assets entering late life, balance of plant degradation is a growing issue. Operators need to ensure that their long-term maintenance strategies are ‘right-sized’ to ensure that long-term opex is minimised so that levelised cost of energy gains are leveraged.

The offshore renewables sector has an opportunity to develop and enhance its late life/life extension strategy, alongside its approach to contracting and operational delivery models – for those assets which are already in operation and also for those which are being designed and constructed right now. Long-term thinking delivers long-term opex reduction.

While the wind industry has rightly focused on availability and the efficiency of the turbines and blades, the maintenance of the structural elements which support the wind turbine generator are also incredibly important and increase in importance as the assets age.

Maintenance is expensive and typically requires human intervention, so vessels and numerous subcontractors are mobilised. The industry can save money by adopting new ways of working. Rethinking coating specification can really deliver long-term savings on both new and late life assets. Typical maintenance savings are around 40%, and that makes a significant difference.

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