New report reveals opportunities for offshore wind operators


The offshore wind sector should invest now in new technologies to transform operational practices and ensure continued growth, or risk losing out on significant immediate savings, and over the coming decades, too.

This is according to ONYX InSight, a leading provider of data analytics and engineering expertise to the global wind industry, who recently released a new whitepaper outlining the key challenges and opportunities for the offshore wind industry in the short, medium, and long term.

Offshore wind faces a tough landscape where strike prices are low and margins are being squeezed. The industry has made great strides in reducing the LCOE by increasing turbine size and streamlining the supply chain. However, ONYX InSight has found there is huge potential to achieve further significant efficiencies without entering into a race for the biggest turbine or the lowest parts or service contracts costs.

Drawing on its experience in offshore wind, ONYX InSight has pinpointed several prospects for the industry. In the short-term, optimizing logistics will deliver significant savings for operators due to new advances in digital O&M. Addressing “minor” repairs, accounting for up to 50 percent of total maintenance costs, will also deliver significant efficiency gains. With more oversight on asset health, owners and operators can prioritize their O&M work and implement more effective condition-based scheduled maintenance.

Another key finding from ONYX InSight’s whitepaper is offshore wind stands to gain significantly from life extension. However, the greatest savings will only materialize if life extension strategies are established early in asset lifecycles. By using the latest diagnostics to inform life extension, the right predictive maintenance program can extend useful asset life by 25 percent. This comes together with a wider adoption of new digital tools to streamline data collection and aid training, easing the skills gap.

According to ONYX InSight’s report, the offshore wind industry is set to prosper in the long term but must first adopt a collaborative supply chain wide approach to data. From optimizing turbine design for the reality of operations to enabling large collaborative maintenance zones with clustered O&M strategies, advances in data analytics can potentially revolutionize the sector over the next decade. But this will be unlocked only through sharing data with trusted partners, instead of letting it sit unused.

“The offshore opportunity is huge,” said Bruce Hall, CEO of ONYX InSight. “We are proud to support the industry as it continues to break new ground, and now, it’s time for the next wave of innovation. Exciting opportunities such as floating wind are within grasp. Our whitepaper has picked out a course to successfully reduce O&M costs and boost profits in offshore operations, envisioning a future where added capacity from new assets is bolstered by continued digital enhancements to the growing global fleet.”

“There’s not one cure-all solution to the challenges offshore wind must overcome,” said Evgenia Golysheva, head of engineering at ONYX InSight. “But there’s great cause for optimism. The sector has seen a renewed boost in interest, investment, and political support and is set to expand rapidly into large new markets such as the U.S. and Asia. With the right advice, owners and operators can put relatively simple changes into place now to save money, while laying a strong foundation for the working practices of the future.”