Offshore wind is widely considered to be the most mature of the offshore renewables industries, and features in the current and planned energy mix of many countries. A drive to reduce costs, improve efficiency and go to deeper water with floating structures means there is a real need for reliable and innovative technology.
FEASIBILITY STUDIES AND SITE INSPECTION
Feasibility studies and site inspection include activities such as bathymetric surveys, cable route surveys and UXO surveys. The addition of accurate navigation and positioning instrument can improve the quality of surveys significantly. If towed vehicles are used, tracking equipment designed for shallow water use provides essential input to ensure quality data output.
Whether undertaking cable lay operations or installing foundations, there is a requirement for highly accurate and robust monitoring of the position of structures and cables. Depending on the application, USBL or LBL may be deemed more suitable. Higher accuracies can be achieved by adding AHRS and precision enhanced with INS. As sites move to deeper waters further offshore, the additional of subsea acoustics to support dynamic positioning operations may be required.
OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
Maintenance tasks carried out by divers and ROVs can be enhanced by the addition of tracking and underwater positioning. Not only does this improve diver safety, as teams of divers can be tracked using one system and both relative and absolute positions are known, but points of interest can be logged with accuracy, creating a clear audit trial for future reference and making it easier to return for subsequent work.
FLOATING OFFSHORE WIND
The growth of floating offshore wind farms brings new challenges to the wind industry, including the development of new structural designs, anchoring and integrity monitoring. In deeper waters, wireless systems with integrated subsea telemetry to send data back to surface remove the need for subsea intervention by divers and ROVs, thus improving safety and reducing operational costs.