One of the world’s leading manufacturers of offshore wind turbines and a leading test and development centre are to collaborate to reduce time spent offshore by enhancing turbine design and automating maintenance activity.
GE Renewable Energy and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult in the UK are to spend £9M (US$12M) on a four-year research partnership.
Their aim is to minimise the time people have to spend offshore, which will enhance both safety and operating costs for offshore windfarms.
The ‘Stay Ashore!’ programme is built on three pillars. The first is reliability by design, which is primarily focused on validating key wind turbine components. The second is enabling full remote operability and troubleshooting of the turbines through advanced digital functionality, to reduce the need to go offshore for unplanned events. The third is using robotics for planned maintenance events, specifically repetitive tasks, inspection activities and activities in areas that are difficult to access. Together they aim to further reduce the operating costs of offshore wind.
The project is part of GE’s broader offshore wind strategy for the UK – collaborating with local partners to drive down the cost of electricity and improve reliability of offshore wind projects.
GE offshore wind president and chief executive John Lavelle said, “By eliminating unplanned offshore human intervention through increasing productivity with digital and robotic tools… we will contribute significantly to reducing the cost of offshore wind energy.”
The ongoing collaboration between GE Renewable Energy and ORE Catapult will launch focused technology innovation challenges to the UK small to medium enterprise and academic community, including robotics, blade and tower inspections and repair processes.