A novel wind turbine access system jointly developed by UK firms Houlder and BMT Nigel Gee this week won the Seawork Marine Renewable award.
The lightweight three-axis motion compensated gangway, dubbed TAS and developed to provide safe and reliable access from workboats, has been widely taken up in the wind farm support vessel market since it is claimed to improve the wind turbine maintenance window for workboats operating in inclement weather.
Increasing the significant wave height window for personnel transfer from 1.5m to 2m, for example, allows quick resets and minor turbine repairs to be undertaken on a higher proportion of North Sea work days.
According to Houlder, this has improved turbine availability by up to ten per cent, which for a 5MW turbine, as expected to be deployed for much of UK Round 3 developments, equates to extra annual revenue of £245 000 per turbine.
Source: imarest, June 17, 2011; Image: bmt