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Investing in tech to futureproof existing offshore assets is as vital for offshore wind as new developments, states report

Published: 26 January 2021 - Rachael Morling

The offshore wind sector should invest now in new technologies to transform operational practices and ensure continued growth, or risk losing out on significant immediate savings, and over the coming decades too.

This is according to ONYX InSight, a leading provider of data analytics and engineering expertise to the global wind industry, who have released a new whitepaper today outlining the key challenges and opportunities for the offshore wind industry in the short-, medium- and long-term.
 
Offshore wind faces a tough landscape where strike prices are low and margins are being squeezed. The industry has made great strides in reducing the LCOE by increasing turbine size and streamlining the supply chain. However, ONYX InSight have found that there is huge potential to achieve further significant efficiencies without entering into a race for the biggest turbine or the lowest parts or service contracts costs.
 
Drawing on their experience in offshore wind, ONYX InSight have pinpointed several prospects for the industry. In the short-term, optimising logistics will deliver significant savings for operators due to new advances in digital O&M. Addressing ‘minor’ repairs, accounting for up to 50% of total maintenance costs, will also deliver significant efficiency gains. With more oversight on asset health, owners and operators can prioritise their O&M work and implement more effective condition-based scheduled maintenance.
 
Another key finding from ONYX InSight’s whitepaper is that offshore wind stands to gain significantly from life extension. However, the greatest savings will only materialise if life extension strategies are established early in asset lifecycles. By using the latest diagnostics to inform life extension, the right predictive maintenance programme can extend useful asset life by 25%. This comes together with a wider adoption of new digital tools to streamline data collection and aid training, easing the skills gap.
 
According to ONYX InSight’s report, the offshore wind industry is set to prosper in the long term but must first adopt a collaborative supply chain wide approach to data. From optimising turbine design for the reality of operations, to enabling large collaborative maintenance zones with clustered O&M strategies, advances in data analytics can potentially revolutionise the sector over the next decade. But this will be unlocked only through sharing data with trusted partners, instead of letting it sit unused.
 
Bruce Hall, CEO, ONYX InSight, says: “The offshore opportunity is huge. We are proud to support the industry as it continues to break new ground, and now, it’s time for the next wave of innovation. Exciting opportunities such as floating wind are within grasp. Our whitepaper has picked out a course to successfully reduce O&M costs and boost profits in offshore operations, envisioning a future where added capacity from new assets is bolstered by continued digital enhancements to the growing global fleet.”
 
Evgenia Golysheva, Head of Engineering, ONYX InSight, added: “There’s not one cure-all solution to the challenges offshore wind must overcome. But there’s great cause for optimism. The sector has seen a renewed boost in interest, investment, and political support, and is set to expand rapidly into large new markets such as the US and Asia. With the right advice, owners and operators can put relatively simple changes into place now to save money, while laying a strong foundation for the working practices of the future.”


 
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