This article explores the savings potential & cost variations of shared O&M activities between offshore windfarm sites and opportunities for risk mitigation strategies through collaborative efforts.
As more sites become operational in the same geographic areas, opportunities for collaboration increase significantly
Collaborative efforts are needed in the offshore wind industry, to optimize offshore wind farm operations and reduce operational expenditure (OPEX). As the industry matures and more sites come into operation in the same geographic areas, the opportunities for collaborative efforts across wind farm sites increase significantly.
Site characteristics of the respective windfarms, technical platform, ownership structure, supply and service contracts as well as relations with OEMs and partners are key characteristics that influence the ability to materialize synergies across projects.
Any wind farm owner should do an assessment of potential OPEX savings that can be realized through collaborative efforts between offshore wind farm sites in their near vicinity. Based on bottom up OPEX cost modelling, an illustrative example is provided, that shows the categories and potential savings that can be realized.
Besides assessing potential OPEX savings from collaborative initiatives, risk mitigation strategies through shares emergency services should be mapped out. These collaborative efforts often contribute to optimized availability.
An analysis of the different OPEX cost categories identifies the size of the synergy potential. Significant cost savings are identified across multiple cost categories, if operations is shared across several sites (2 x 400 MW sites). The most significant synergy potentials are identified in cost categories that (i) do not grow linearly with increase in size (i.e. have high mobilization costs or stand-by fees) and (ii) are independent of contractual arrangement with OEMs or owners.
A conceptual ranking of each cost category in terms of their value vs. their individual implementation complexity will ensure focus is kept on the right activities.
Cost categories with no dependencies to OEMs or contractual arrangements with partners, are typically less complex to implement than synergies with many dependencies.
Work packages with relatively standardized scope across sites are, relatively speaking, easier to implement, than those that are non- standardized (i.e. seabed surveys, cable burial surveys, blade inspections).
First step for any wind farm owner to realize synergies with others, is identifying the main cost drivers and their relative size of total OPEX. In most circumstances, there will be significant potential in optimizing OPEX by collaborative efforts between offshore wind farm sites, regardless of being a site operated by the same owner or multiple owners. When engaging in collaborative activities, the largest challenges to materialize synergies will likely be related to contractual constraints with OEMs and investors/partners.
Above and beyond the direct reduction of OPEX, several collaborative initiatives can be implemented for risk mitigation purposes. Particularly those initiatives that allow fast mobilization and contingency for repair works during major asset breakdowns, can contribute great value at a reasonable cost, when shared between several sites.
Implementing these types of risk mitigation strategies will inevitably result in lower insurance premiums and improve availability for asset owners.
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