Offshore wind energy needs to become more affordable. But is it enough to save only on the costs of acquisition and installation? Achim Berge Olsen, Managing Director of wpd Offshore GmbH, knows that in order to lower offshore costs, it is especially important to save money on the turbine maintenance.
That is why wpd commissioned Siemens to develop a tailor-made concept for the maintenance and repairs of the wind power plant Butendiek. Siemens developed a service ship that can stay out at sea near the wind park for up to several weeks at a time. The service operation vessels, or “SOVs” for short, are equipped with cutting-edge technology and enable faster and more efficient service.
The SOVs can do two things that normal service ships can’t do: They can stay in the wind park even in rough weather and wind conditions, and – thanks to the hydraulic bridge – they can reach the turbines more often than is possible using normal entry systems. Today, this makes them the most effective way to service offshore wind power plants. We are convinced of that. We predict that in the future all large wind power plants will be maintained with this kind of vessel.
To develop service operation vessels with Esvagt A/S, Siemens called upon its three decades of expertise in the wind energy business. Thanks to innovative service concepts like these, wind energy is becoming more and more affordable – and opening up new possibilities for the future.
There is enough space for up to 40 technicians on board of a service operation vessel (SOV). They ensure that the wind turbines keep running day to day: not an easy job! Spend a day in the life of one of our technicians at work – you will be surprised how comfortable life on board can be.
Erhan Erdönmez is an offshore service technician at Siemens.
The 25-year-old is on his way to becoming a team leader.
Experience a day with him on the service operation vessel.
Erhan's day starts with a good breakfast with his colleagues. Balanced nutrition is important, as he has to be in shape for his job on the offshore turbine.
The food is tasty and fresh. You can find everything your heart desires.
Every morning the team meets in the conference room. Everybody discusses what went well, what could be improved and what needs to be done next. Today the team of 30 members learns about the characteristics of the wind park and the planned control tests. Erhan finds out which team he will be working with and what his tasks will be.
Our boss has put together a great team. Everybody is technically qualified, gets along great, and is in good shape.
Before the service technicians are allowed to enter the turbine, they must put on their personal protection equipment. Erhan puts on safety glasses, helmet, safety shoes, survival suit and a climber kit. In the meantime, he gets his final instructions. During the education period, several safety trainings at the Siemens training centers have to be completed successfully. This way the team feels safe and ready for every operation.
Everything I learned in the trainings, I need every single day at work.
Let's knuckle down: Erhan leaves the vessel via a hydraulically stabilized gangway to reach the turbine. Thanks to the bridge, he reaches his workspace safely even when there are high waves. Afterwards, Erhans toolbox, which contains his instruments, is carried on the turbine by crane. Then he gets started!
Not everybody is able to work offshore. You have to be physically and mentally fit. You are entrusted with a high level of responsibility.
Erhan and his team do different kinds of operations. Big service operations can take several days.
When “snagging,” technicians can service several turbines in one day. When operating on older turbines, fault clearing is on the schedule from time to time. No matter what kind of operation is underway, it is important that the team spirit is alive.
Even on tough days, working with my colleagues is fun. And that's what counts!
Once the job has been done, Erhan and his colleagues like to hit the gym on board the vessel. That's the way the crew stays fit. But there are also several opportunities to relax on board: The service operation vessel provides a shared lounge, a library and a cinema for collective movie nights.
Mission accomplished: the client is happy, the turbine is running – now we can start our evening.
Erhan stays at the offshore wind park for 14 days at a time, followed by 14 days off. He does not mind the long time on board because he and his colleagues keep busy in the evenings: They watch movies, or play poker, chess or PlayStation. Moreover, he is well rewarded for his hard work thanks to an offshore allowance from Siemens – even on the days when he has to stay on the vessel because of bad weather conditions.
We are such a cool team – a great mixture of young and experienced employees with different nationalities
At the end of a long day Erhan retires in his private cabin. He enjoys being by himself and writing poems to balance out his tough job. He also takes the opportunity to chat with his friends and family onshore.
A job in an office – that is something I really can't picture for myself.
Unstable weather conditions, rough seas, and long distances to the coast can make offshore service costs difficult to calculate for wind power plant operators. Siemens’ new service operation vessels rise to this challenge: They help make the new generation of offshore wind power plants more efficient and profitable.
20-foot-high containers hold all the needed spare parts and service materials.
Because full manpower is always on board, service is performed more quickly, thus helping to reduce downtime. With modern accommodation facilities, the technicians can live at sea for several weeks at a time.
More and more wind power plants are located farther from shore, making daily transit more time-consuming and costly. The solution: service operation vessels stay at sea for several weeks.
Always being on location means that technicians have more time for their most important job: the maintenance of the wind turbines.
SOVs can safely withstand even the harshest weather conditions. They ensure higher efficiency, especially during the stormy winter.
The vessel is operational in rough waters, helping to increase the working weather window and decrease downtime.
Thanks to the modern hydraulic gangway, the service technicians can safely “walk to work” in wave heights up to 2.5 meters.
The service operation vessels are part of a comprehensive portfolio that we have compiled over three decades of wind service tradition. At Siemens, turbines and operational services come from a single source to make it easy for you to get the maximum performance out of your wind power plants.