Experience pays off
“Progress is excellent,” says Bligh Bank Installation and Commissioning Manager Stefan Hoonings. “We take the project one chunk at a time, and because the team has all been around for a few projects now, we know what to expect.”
Hoonings learned his offshore trade on two offshore wind power plants Q7 and OWEZ in the Netherlands and Robin Rigg in the UK. “By that point I felt we had learned from experience and was happy to get the opportunity to put the gained experience into action again.” he says.
With the turbines located up to 47 km from the harbour, a day offshore is limited to just four or five hours of effective working hours, because of all the transfers and sailing time.
Fewer teams create more efficiency
Although, the turbines are placed close to each other, it takes time for the vessel to transfer the staff from one turbine to another “To reduce this waste time we have limited the number of teams, so they do not wait too long for the other teams being picked up before they continue their work on the next turbine,” says Hoonings.
In addition to this approach, the Bligh Bank team uses temporary cables to “fool” the nacelle into thinking that it is part of a complete turbine while it is still on the dockside. This allows them to do much of the commissioning work ahead of time – also making it possible for the energisation team to take advantage of the good weather conditions.
Another innovation takes advantage of the long transfer time of the non-self propelled installation vessel which carries two turbines from the harbour to the offshore site, and nearly as long to move between turbine positions.
“If we had to transport a crew out to the site after each turbine was installed, to finalise the installation works as was done on earlier projects, that would be an extra constraint,” Hoonings says. Instead, once the barge has put a turbine in place, the installation crew stays behind to finish the installation while the barge moves to the next location. When they are done, a crew boat takes them back to the barge while the other shift starts work on the second turbine.
Once the Bligh Bank turbines are energised in September the plan is to start up ten turbines a day. “Not a problem!” says Hoonings looking up from his computer screen.