Building the technology foundation for offshore wind power

Fossil fuels have been the catalyst for the rapid development of our modern, technology rich society. They will also become the downfall of everything we hold so dear, which is why sustainably developing and expanding the use of alternative energy sources is one of defining requirements of the SDGs. KONGSBERG’s work in enabling offshore wind power supports the greater availability of affordable and clean energy required under SDG 7.


Building the technology foundation for offshore wind power

As wind farms move further from shore and turbines grow in size, the technology and methodology required to install, manage and maintain them becomes ever more complex. This aligns with the need to constantly drive down the cost of the energy produced, and with operations and maintenance accounting for 25% of the lifetime costs of a turbine, finding new ways to unlock efficiency throughout the value chain is essential. We approach the problem from multiple angles and continue to deliver new solutions that strengthen the case for offshore wind.

    With more autonomy for wind farm service vessel fleets, the costs of maintenance can be reduced further. Autonomous vessels can plan routes according to need, autonomous underwater vehicles can deliver cost-effective subsea surveys, autonomous monitoring systems on the turbines themselves will create jobs on land, and AI systems can manage routes to deliver engineers exactly where they are needed without having to inspect manually and visually. This can all be done automatically, even as far as activating the walkway that engineers need to get from the ship to the turbine.

    Data can connect every aspect of wind farm operations & maintenance, enabling service companies to streamline the task of managing a wind farm made up of hundreds of state-of-the-art turbines. It is a never-ending task, but with vessels, turbines and on-shore control centres connected in real-time, the efficiency of managing offshore wind farms can be significantly improved, while helping to drive the costs down. At KONGSBERG, this starts with Kognifai, an all-encompassing digital ecosystem as at ease running state-of-the-art digital twins for engineering studies as it is enabling the delivery of real-time weather data or navigation advice.

    KONGSBERG’s capabilities to optimise wind turbine installation and service are already well established by our operational technology portfolio and decades of experience in offshore energy operations. Our vessel alarm, monitoring, safety and control systems provide robust and reliable operation while our navigation, Dynamic Positioning and propulsion control systems simplify and secure every manoeuvre a wind turbine installation or service vessel ever needs to make. Integrated into a unified technology platform, our operational technology optimises day-to-day performance and long-term asset management, helping to make wind power cheaper so that its use overtakes fossil fuels.

    The KONGSBERG UT range of wind farm service operation and construction support vessels provides an operationally efficient platform for wind turbine support operations. We integrate innovative industrial design, vessel optimisation, energy control, energy storage, electrical solutions, propulsion and engines solutions with safety and efficiency enhancing operational technology and digital platforms to deliver the financial and environmental advantages the industry needs to keep lowering the cost of clean energy.

    Knowing what lies below the surface can significantly reduce maintenance costs and increase the operational lifetime of a wind turbine. KONGSBERG systems are used to survey the oceans to centimetre accuracy, so engineers always have the best data to work with. Our underwater positioning interacts with our vessel positioning during turbine installations, ensuring that everything is where it should be down to the smallest tolerances. And once a turbine is operational, our solutions subsea sensors can measure structural health and ‘scouring’, which mitigates the need for diver inspections, reducing risk and maintenance costs even further.

    A windfarm support vessel carries technicians and engineers that must safely cross over to turbines to do their jobs. This is a notoriously perilous part of wind farm maintenance, so KONGSBERG developed a state-of-the-art solution to make the process much safer, even in extreme conditions. K-Walk is an advanced and automated system designed to streamline and increase the safety of access from ships to installations. Integrated with our autonomous and situational awareness systems, K-Walk has the potential to transform on-site maintenance by making it safer and more cost-efficient.