The offshore wind industry in existing near shore shallow sites has yet to become cost competitive with traditional forms of energy while new sites are being planned at greater distances from shore or deeper water, bringing new challenges.
The offshore wind industry has not yet applied lean principles to the logistical operations of the wind farm in all stages of the lifecycle as proposed by the LEANWIND project.
'Lean' principles were originally developed by Toyota to optimise the processes of manufacturing industries; these principles of optimisation and efficiency have subsequently been adopted by many other industries to remove wasteful stages and streamline processes.
A new EU 7th Framework Programme project, 'LEANWIND' (Logistic Efficiencies And Naval architecture for Wind Installations with Novel Developments) seeks to apply lean principles to the offshore wind farm project lifecycle.
The primary LEANWIND objective is to provide cost reductions across the offshore wind farm lifecycle and supply chain through the application of lean principles and the development of state of the art technologies and tools.
This new 'lean' paradigm will be applied to each of the critical project stages: logistical processes, shore-based transport links, port and staging facilities, vessels, lifting equipment, safety and O&M.
The LEANWIND approach will ensure that unnecessarily complex or wasteful stages of the development process are removed, flow between the required stages is streamlined, quality is enhanced and thus overall cost and time efficiency improved to enable the industry to bridge the gap between current costs and industry cost aspirations.
Properly applied, lean management will improve quality, reliability and H&S standards across the project supply chain and throughout the wind farm lifecycle.
Final Report Summary - LEANWIND (Logistic Efficiencies And Naval architecture for Wind Installations with Novel Developments)
LEANWIND was awarded to a consortium of 31 participants (52% from industry) from 11 countries and is led by University College Cork, Ireland. The diverse team brings together experts from multiple sectors including oil and gas, maritime, shipping and offshore wind industries with representatives across the supply-chain including developers, utilities, turbine suppliers, vessel owners, shipbuilding, classification societies and academics. The project received funding of €9.98million from the European Commission and has a total value of €14.78million. LEANWIND commenced in December 2013 and ran for 4 years. The final event was held in Amsterdam, November 2017.
The European Union has a long-term commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% compared to 1990 levels by 2050. This has important implications for the current energy system and will require greater uptake of clean technologies such as wind energy in order to achieve these goals. The LEANWIND project began in December of 2013, at which time the Levelised Cost Of Energy (LCOE) for offshore wind energy was €140/MWh. Over the lifetime of the project, this cost has plummeted, with Vattenfall’s offshore wind price bid in 2016 for the Kriegers Flak project setting a record LCOE forecast of €40/MWh surpassing 2020 targets of €100/MWh.
However, there is still work to be done to achieve further cost reductions and cost parity with conventional energy generation. This fall in forecasted LCOE will increase price competition as developers are put under increasing pressure to match these forecasts. New markets in East Asia and North America still need to achieve these targets using the lessons learned by the existing industry. In addition, challenges are presented by future sites located further from shore, in harsher conditions and deeper waters. Larger turbines and projects also mean different equipment requirements and new logistics and maintenance issues. It is expected that LEANWIND results will particularly contribute to optimisation for future farms and, alongside applied research in years to come, guarantee the future of offshore wind within our energy mix.
The primary LEANWIND objective was to provide cost reductions across the Offshore Wind Farm (OWF) lifecycle and supply-chain through the application of lean principles and the development of state-of-the-art technologies and tools. “Lean thinking” is the dynamic, knowledge driven, and end-user focused process through which, an industry continuously seeks to eliminate wasteful stages and streamline processes with the goal of creating value. These principles have been adopted by many other industries however their application is a novel development in the offshore wind industry.
Taking a whole system perspective, the lean paradigm is applied in LEANWIND to the three critical project stages: installation, O&M and decommissioning. The project addressed the logistic challenges of deploying, installing and operating wind turbines (WT) ranging from 5-10MW in transitional water depths (40-60m) to deep sites (>60m) using fixed or floating substructures. The transport, logistical and maintenance operations associated with these structures are considered with novel approaches to vessel design, sub-structure alterations and O&M strategies that reduce both the CAPEX and OPEX costs. The innovations developed within the project have been rigorously validated where possible and assessed for their cost benefit. This will facilitate market uptake, thereby contributing to the competitiveness of the sector and to the creation of new employment opportunities within the industry.
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