Sea state forecasting innovation emerges with offshore wind giant

Global offshore wind leader Orsted has partnered with the emerging Grimsby-based national Operations & Maintenance Centre of Excellence to improve sea state forecasting.

The £400,000 project will develop an innovative approach to wave modelling as it aims to deliver a significant reduction to missed working days.

Wave height has been a barrier to getting technicians on to turbines, and the work will take predictive accuracy down to individual turbine level – allowing better planning and efficiency.

O&M contributes around 25 per cent to the lifetime cost of a typical offshore wind farm, and analysis suggests that innovations in forecasting techniques could help to reduce missed working days by a quarter.

Lucas Marion, Orsted’s wind and wave research and development roadmap manager, said: “Safe access to turbines is a key factor in O&M planning in the offshore wind industry and having a greater insight into the localised, intra-array sea states and wave heights is a valuable resource.

An offshore wind turbine climb for a technician.
An offshore wind turbine climb for a technician.
(Image: Orsted)

“The UK is the world leader in offshore wind and if we are to maintain this position while continuing to bring down costs, collaboration between industry and academia is an important factor.

“We’re pleased to be partnering with the O&M Centre of Excellence on this project.”

Multiple downward-facing radar have been installed at turbines at Ørsted’s Burbo Bank Extension wind farm off Liverpool to record wave height, direction and period together with combined met-ocean data and existing forecasts.

Feeding in site configuration data and other factors, it will allow for the production of artificial intelligence-based method that will be used to make a step-change in the resolution and accuracy of fine-scale at sites.

The O&M Centre of Excellence is a £2 million collaboration between the University of Hull and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult to drive solution-focused innovation and improvements.

Project lead Dr Rob Dorrell, from the Energy & Environment Institute at the University of Hull, said: “This is tackling critical challenges in operations and maintenance at the interface of offshore wind and the hostile marine environment.

“We are delighted to translate state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and remote monitoring systems to provide new solutions and methods to meet industrial challenges, enabling the drive towards enhanced cost-efficiency in offshore wind, thus furthering its viability as a clean energy solution.”

Dr Robert Dorrell, Energy and Environment Institute, University of Hull.
Dr Robert Dorrell, Energy and Environment Institute, University of Hull.
(Image: University of Hull)

Orsted is behind the world-leading Hornsea One offshore wind farm off the East Yorkshire coast, and the even larger Hornsea Two which will start to emerge later this year. Close to 400 people will be employed at the company’s East Coast Hub as the zone is built out, with teams heading offshore. Wind farms close to the coast send vessels out daily.

The Humber’s wind farms and their turbines by numbers:

194MW

Lynn & Inner Dowsing (54 x 3.6MW)

270MW

Lincs (75 x 3.6MW)

210MW

Westermost Rough (35 x 6MW)

219MW

Humber Gateway (73 x 3MW)

573MW

Race Bank (91 x 6.3MW)

1,218MW

Hornsea One (174 x 7MW)

Johnathan Love, ORE Catapult’s project manager, added: “With Ørsted, the University of Hull and the Catapult coming together on this project, we are combining insight into real industry challenges with cutting-edge academic research to develop new products to improve offshore wind operations and maintenance and wind farm efficiency and performance.”

As reported, the O&M Centre of Excellence has taken on a floor of Grimsby’s Port Office, looking down to RWE’s new Triton Knoll site and Orsted’s East Coast Hub.


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