Offshore wind energy will play a key role in stimulating growth and investment in Europe over the next decade. Moreover, Europe, as a first mover, is set to gain significant benefits from exporting both products and services as offshore markets around the world develop. This can be achieved if the offshore wind industry can reduce costs to levels comparable to other energy sources.
A new European FP7 project, LEANWIND, seeks to address inefficiencies in logistics and transport issues for offshore wind installations and so contribute to the reduction of costs. LEANWIND was awarded to a consortium of 31 partners from 11 countries and is led by Beaufort Research in University College Cork (UCC) Ireland. This project received funding of €10million from the European Commission and has a total value of €15million. LEANWIND commenced in December 2013 and will run for 4 years.
The European offshore wind sector is set to benefit through the participation of Kongsberg Maritime AS, Norsk Automatisering AS, SINTEF Energy Research and MARINTEK who will make key contributions in the areas of ship transport systems, cost optimization and maintenance technology.
Norsk Marinteknisk Forskningsinstitutt AS (MARINTEK) has the technical management of LEANWIND and is also contributing with research on maintenance technology and ship transport systems.
The LEANWIND project seeks to reduce costs for offshore wind farm developments and make offshore wind competitive with traditional energy sources. LEANWIND will look at new ways to transport components, manage and organise ports efficiently, adapt fixed and floating turbine structures to aid installation and consider new technologies for wind farm maintenance.
The work programme will apply "lean" principles to streamline procedures and develop new technologies and tools to improve efficiency, and will thus address current and future industry challenges to help make offshore wind a competitive source of energy. The focus of the work will be in the areas of substructure and vessel design, wind farm logistics and economics, Operation & Maintenance, Health & Safety and business models.
A principal aim of the project is to develop niche markets, thereby creating sustainable long term employment in offshore wind for European shipping industries.
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