Offshore Wind Turbines lined up out at sea

Offshore wind roadmap addresses operations and maintenance challenges and opportunities

June 27, 2024 9:15 am Published by

Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories’ Wind Energy Technologies program and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Offshore Wind Research program recently completed a first-of-its-kind report, “An Operations and Maintenance Roadmap for U.S. Offshore Wind.” 

Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office, the roadmap assesses current operation and maintenance practices for U.S. offshore wind farms and future challenges and needs, and providing specific recommendations for technology innovations that could help address identified needs and gaps.

“This roadmap represents a collective effort by Sandia and NREL to gather an accurate assessment of the current state of the offshore wind industry and what is needed to accelerate deployment of cost-effective and reliable offshore wind plants in the United States,” said Principal Investigator Josh Paquette.

Offshore wind exists in harsh ocean environments, presenting unique challenges for operating and maintaining wind turbines and systems. The research and development opportunities outlined in the roadmap could help the U.S. offshore wind industry become more cost-effective and sustainable with enhanced performance and reliability. 

The roadmap was developed through dozens of interviews and several stakeholder engagement activities representing a wide cross section of the industry, including representatives from original equipment manufacturers, owner/operators, consulting companies, certification agencies, service providers and researchers. 

The report’s top U.S. offshore wind energy operation and maintenance (O&M) challenges identified include: 

  • An increase of component and wind turbine size at a fast pace 
  • Unplanned maintenance  
  • Inconsistent objectives for wind manufacturers, wind plant developers and wind plant owners 
  • Low data processing efficiency, lack of standardization and lack of confidence in models developed using data, among others 

To address these challenges, the scientific team recommended U.S. offshore wind research and development (R&D) in the following topic areas:

  • Monitoring, sensing and inspection
  • Maintenance execution
  • Design optimization that considers reliability and operation and maintenance
  • Prognostics, health management and operations and maintenance optimization, among other activities

Read the complete report to learn more about U.S. offshore wind challenges, recommended research topics, and research and development activities, as well as how these activities will compliment those facilitated by the academic and private sectors.

Learn more about Sandia’s Wind Energy Technologies program.

Read more about NREL’s Offshore Wind Research program.

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