Winter 2020

Turbine testbed for offshore wind innovators

Digital asset and data management specialist James Fisher AIS has been working closely with the teams behind Scotland’s largest offshore wind farms to show how its digital system can optimise turbine operations and maintenance.  

The team used digital twin technology R2S to create a detailed interactive model of both the offshore turbines and onshore substation. This model can act as the basis for gathering and integrating information from the earliest design phase right through construction, to form comprehensive digital asset management system which will work throughout the entire lifecycle of the asset.  

R2S links directly with existing systems, software and data and provides a way to access all important information about any asset and tag it to a specific point on a 360-degree photograph. 

This demonstration was made possible by a £1.5 million collaboration between the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and Vattenfallwhich is helping to accelerate technology commercialisation by directing high-potential UK developers to trials at the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. This Vattenfall-owned site in Aberdeen Bay is home to some of the world's most powerful wind turbines and provides a testbed for offshore wind innovators to demonstrate cutting-edge technology in real-world operating conditions.   

The work we have done over the past two years with ORE Catapult on its Levenmouth demonstrator turbine has allowed us to transfer the R2S technology into the renewables sector,’ explains James Fisher AIS market development manager Laura Fairley. 

This, combined with design thinking workshops with industry experts, has allowed us to focus on alleviating industry pain points through the use of digital technology. R2S has proven its value and it is exciting to see the product take its next steps into this world.’ 

ORE Catapult gave the JF AIS team access to a 7mw demonstration turbine for the creation of the R2S modelThis enabled the team to align the model with Vattenfall's ongoing digitalisation strategy to help the major offshore wind developer understand how digitilisation can optimise asset management, increase efficiencies and enhance productivity. 

Michael Herdman, Vattenfall’s project manager says:

We see huge value in the R2S software. Its digital twin technology allows us to remotely manage our assets using a like-for-like digital copy. Digitalisation is one of our main focuses, and we are keen to adopt technology which can optimise our operations and maintenance both onshore and offshore. 

The service from JF AIS has been excellent, and we are excited about future developments and integrations with different data sources, which will help us manage our assets more effectively and efficiently. 

Laura adds:

It has been fantastic to work with the forward-thinking team at Vattenfall and to be able to create this R2S model around Vattenfall’s digitalisation needs. The initial feedback has been great and we are looking forward to seeing the added benefits that are created as we link more data to this model.’ 

Current form

High voltage specialist, EDS HV has secured work on three Danish offshore wind farm sites run by Vattenfall, on the back of successful work at other Vattenfall sites. 

The team will be managing high voltage network commissioning and safety management at three wind farms: Kriegers Flak, Vesterhav Syd and Vesterhav Nord off the coast of DenmarkAs part of the contract, EDS is offering full management of all senior authorised persons (SAP) on site at all three wind farms as well as full high voltage safety management.  

Ryan Calvertinterim managing director at EDS explains: 

Having an extensive pool of experienced SAPs means we can get people on site quickly. Slick project management allows us to be agile and adapt to the project schedule, helping the commissioning managers avoid delays and penalties, and ultimately bring an asset online and get it generating energy and income. That’s why Vattenfall trusts us with this critical phase of the wind farm lifecycle.’ 

We’re on the critical path of getting the wind farm energised and commissioned and any delay can incur huge costs,’ addDavid Orr, EDS operations manager. ‘We manage the whole process end-to-end across the high voltage grid from the first energization of turbines to offshore substations, getting the wind farm operational quickly and safely. It is rare for a contract to be directly awarded in this industry, but this work is testament to the good relationship we have with Vattenfall, and the team’s confidence in us.’ 

Work commenced in June 2020 at Kriegers Flak, which will be Denmark’s largest offshore wind farm, and is scheduled to be in operation by the end of 2021Vesterhav Syd and Vesterhav Nord are scheduled to be in operation by the end of 2023 at the latest.  

Morten Jochimsen, commissioning manager at Vattenfall says: 

The support and guidance from EDS has really been valuable. The service we receive from EDS is hard to find anywhere else in the industry and the fact that the team can supply the whole package and be flexible, both regarding electrical safety and commissioning, has really been a key factor in choosing EDS.’ 

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