Sea Technology

APR 2017

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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Page 23 of 72 April 2017 / st 23 T he year 2016 saw remarkable growth in offshore wind in both the U.S. and U.K. Business prospects for North America's offshore wind industry, though slow to take off, were accelerated by the start-up of the nation's first off- shore wind farm, off Long Island, New York. The 256-sq.- mi. site has room for as many as 200 turbines and is the first of several planned by the developer, Deepwater Wind. Several projects in the Atlantic states are now in advanced stages of development and are scheduled to begin com- mercial operations by 2022. North Carolina's first offshore wind auction is set to take place in March this year. These, and many other projects in the pipeline, promise a new, lower-carbon source of electricity that is poised to become part of the national energy mix. U.K. plans to increase its offshore wind capacity have been bolstered by a recent industry report that stated that the cost of producing electricity from wind farms has fallen 32 percent in the past four years, meeting a government tar- get four years early. The growth of U.K. offshore wind en- ergy/power is evidenced by the many sites deployed within a short distance of land and a constant stream of installa- tion and support vessels sailing. Among the highlights is the London Array, which is the largest wind farm in the world with 630 MW installed capacity. The latest round of wind farms will bring even bigger arrays. The East Anglia array (in development) has a potential power output of 7.2 GW. This will be more than the 4-GW output capability of the Drax, which is currently the largest power station in the U.K. Individual offshore wind turbines are now capable of generating up to 10 MW, and the technology has seen step changes in size, with turbine blades in the order of 180 m in diameter and towers in excess of 220 m high. The wingspan of an Airbus A380, the largest passenger jet, is less than the blade length for one of these offshore giants at 79.45 m. The Need for Monitoring This technology does not come cheaply. Offshore wind farms are expensive and valuable assets. The latest develop- ments require sums in the order of £1 billion to construct and commission. Of the total cost, approximately 70 to 80 percent of a wind farm is capital expenditure (capex), with the other 20 to 30 percent being operational expenditure Structural Condition Monitoring For Offshore Wind Turbines Making Sense of Data via Structural Analysis By Nick Stringer • Kevin Magee Aquaterra Energy and Proeon Systems have developed a new offshore wind energy monitoring system to improve the integrity of wind turbine towers.

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