As the offshore wind energy industry comes under growing pressure to reduce fuel use and emissions, crew transfer vessel (CTV) operators need to take action now to minimise both and ‘control what they can already control’ until such time as new technology becomes available
Rising public awareness of the shipping industry’s impact on global greenhouse gas emissions has catalysed efforts to decarbonise the sector. In line with this, regulations such as the International Maritime Organization’s 2020 sulphur cap are driving research and development into alternative propulsion methods, including hybrid and electric engines.
However, with such innovations still under development in the offshore wind market, CTV operators cannot afford to wait for new technology to become widely available to start reducing their carbon footprint.
By focusing on tackling controllable factors such as trim, hull fouling and speed, using established monitoring technology, vessel owners can identify inefficiencies in performance and calculate the optimal operating conditions for their vessels.
CTVs are required to transfer personnel and equipment in a harsh environment, and operators must ensure that optimised vessel performance does not compromise industry best practice with regard to crew and technician safety, vessel availability and speed during operations.
Route optimisation, turbine tie-offs, anchoring and switching off engines are all reasonable, smart adjustments owners and operators can employ to make real, substantial gains without compromising of safety or environmental standards.
Reducing fuel consumption and emissions is a critical target for the offshore wind sector, but with this laser focus on fuel, the industry cannot afford to lose sight of the end goal – that is, safe, efficient construction and operation of offshore windfarms, and the environmental benefits this brings.
Owners and operators in the sector need to take advantage of the technology we have available now, by ‘working smarter’ and planning better, while continuing to support R&D into future propulsion solutions.
*Mr Baylis was speaking about developments and opportunities in the crew transfer vessel market at the 2020 Offshore Wind Journal Conference in London on 4 February.