Report identifies maintenance opportunities for subsea firms

Operations and maintenance – particularly inspection, repair and maintenance activities – have been identified in a new report as the highest potential area for subsea companies to diversify into offshore wind.

Offshore-Windpark Greater Gabbard (UK)

Titled ‘Subsea Technological Challenges in Offshore Wind’, the report from NSRI (National Subsea Research Initiative) highlights opportunities the offshore wind industry holds for UK subsea companies, with a technology roadmap outlining the way ahead with industry-driven objectives.

Global offshore wind expenditure is forecast to reach £210bn over the next decade. Around 40 percent of the typical lifecycle costs of offshore wind farm developments come from O&M requirements. Based on UK government projections for offshore wind deployment, the O&M costs for more than 5,500 turbines could be worth £2bn per annum by 2025.

Given the UK industry’s existing inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) capability, companies could break into the offshore wind market by offering individual services such as automated inspection, cable scour inspection, condition monitoring, remote monitoring, increased turbine access and risk based inspection.

These services could eventually be bundled to deliver a full life-of-field offering. It’s also believed that diverless solutions will be of growing interest as offshore wind developments move further offshore into deeper waters.

The technology roadmap, the outcome of an event organised by NSRI and Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, groups ideas generated by the event around an adopt, adapt, develop and collaborate principle. In doing so, it sets out the short, medium and long term activities that will help progress the development of subsea technology for widespread use in the offshore wind sector.

Commenting on the report, Dr Gordon Drummond, project director of NSRI said: “While fossil fuels are expected to continue dominating the global energy supply mix, renewables are taking off at an incredible rate. There are some natural synergies between the sectors, which provide a real advantage for subsea companies looking to expand their presence in multiple energy markets.

“The offshore wind industry is focused on innovating to reduce costs, giving subsea companies the chance to introduce new technology and products to the industry. Diversifying into renewables provides greater resilience for companies and those who take an early lead will reap the benefits.”