The VLAIO funded VIS project OWOME - “Offshore Wind O&M Excellence” – aims to support and enable the development and validation of smart cost-reducing O&M solutions for offshore wind farms. The project will open up access to real-life offshore measurements, develop an integrated data warehouse and support companies in the development of smart O&M solutions. In this regard, five demonstrators linked to O&M are set up within the project, which play a pivotal role.

As part of this project, a series of R&D measurement campaigns have been launched involving partnerships with industrial players, with a view to creating datasets that can provide insights for root-cause analysis (RCA), assessments of the (remaining) service life (RUL) and model validation. The measurement data are used to develop new, advanced techniques for condition monitoring and decision-making toolkits. Those new methods will enable a reduction in O&M costs for offshore wind energy, which still account for about one third of the total lifetime costs of an offshore wind farm.

Why a focus on O&M?

Over the last 10 years, European frontrunners have increasingly deployed renewable energy power plants at sea. Belgium is certainly one of the pioneers in this sector. According to a recent GWEC (Global Wind Energy Council) study, Belgium takes the 6th  place when it comes to installed offshore wind capacity in Europe.

While a growing number of offshore wind farms is coming into operation, the market for their operation & maintenance related activities is also taking off. By 2020, offshore wind farm operators will spend an estimated 5 billion Euros per year on O&M in Europe alone.

O&M typically represents almost 30% of the total lifetime costs of an offshore wind farm. The O&M market keeps growing with the number of wind farms and this opens up opportunities for Belgian companies.

Wind park owners, component suppliers, turbine manufacturers and O&M service companies can benefit from this project by getting involved to gain insights into how this industry works, and understand what the challenges are in the field of O&M activities. The usage of new sensing & measurement tools, bid data approaches, drone & robot inspection tools will be considered in this collective research project.