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On the Necessity of Technology Qualification in the Offshore Wind Energy Industry

[+] Author Affiliations
S. M. S. M. K. Samarakoon, O. T. Gudmestad

University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway

Paper No. OMAE2011-49063, pp. 257-265; 9 pages
doi:10.1115/OMAE2011-49063
From:
  • ASME 2011 30th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 5: Ocean Space Utilization; Ocean Renewable Energy
  • Rotterdam, The Netherlands, June 19–24, 2011
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4437-3
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME

abstract

Wind farm technology can be considered as one of the best available techniques to deliver renewable energy. Similarly, the number of wind farms has been growing rapidly owing to their contribution to sustainable development. Recently also, there has been a growing awareness of the need to develop a plentiful number of wind farms offshore rather than onshore. This is due to the consideration that the offshore wind farms are more beneficial than onshore with respect to their exposure to higher wind speeds while covering extensive areas. Less turbulence offshore also allows the turbines to harvest the available energy more effectively than onshore and to reduce the fatigue on turbines. Furthermore, most of the offshore wind farms are located in remote areas, which helps to avoid noise effects and the visual burden (shadows) on society. However, the malfunctioning of the turbines in offshore wind farms after a few months or years from their commissioning is a one of the challenging issue. The outcome of the failures leads to large financial losses owing to cost-intensive repairs and weather-related delays. Therefore, identification of potential failures at the early stages of development through a technology qualification procedure will help to minimize the loss of financial resources by increasing the reliability of the systems and the availability of wind power. Basically, appraisal of risk and reliability aspects is playing a key role in this qualification process in order to confirm that the system will perform as intended. This study identifies some recent historical failures in offshore wind farms causing significant financial losses. Further, it discusses the reasons of the failures and the possibility to overcome future obstacles in developing offshore wind farms using a technology qualification procedure. Finally, this paper discusses whether the existing technology qualification procedure can be directly applied for offshore wind farms, and what important modifications are necessary.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME

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