Offshore Wind Rules Set New Standard
Lloyd’s Register releases new Rules, Class Notation and Guidance Notes for ‘Wind Turbine Installation and Maintenance Vessels and Liftboats’ to reflect industry best practice and new novel designs.
The new Rules form part of the wider Mobile Offshore Unit Rule set 2013 launched by Lloyd’s Register in June, and is for vessels engaged in installation and/or maintenance activities relating to offshore wind turbines. It covers a number of unit types as well as liftboats, whose primary function is to provide support services to offshore wind turbine installations or other types of offshore installation.
Vessels which comply with the requirements of the new Rules will be eligible for a new classification notation (MainWIND).
The release of the new Rules and Guidance Notes coincides with reports that operators are suffering from the substantial incremental rise in the cost of constructing offshore wind assets and is casting new light on the value of independent third-party assurance, and how certification authorities are informing asset design and construction.
Rob Whillock, Offshore Renewables Lead Naval Architect at Lloyd’s Register said, “It is critical that throughout the process of independent assurance, there is an eye to the future of the industry as well as current guidelines.”
Offshore wind projects have tended to run late and over-budget, but the industry is forecast to grow at pace. The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) estimates that Europe’s offshore wind potential is able to meet the continent’s energy demand seven times over.
Whillock states that modern certification authorities have to offer technical solutions that recognize industry’s future growth.
“As the industry matures, we will see a greater number of larger turbines being installed in deeper water and further from shore, such as the planned 9GW wind farm at Dogger Bank, which lies some 125km off the east coast of England,” said Whillock. “Such developments will require owners and operators of offshore wind farms to rethink their installation and service vessels entirely. The new Lloyd’s Register Rules highlight the importance of independent technical assessment of structures, systems and capabilities. We are demonstrating to the world that our offshore Rules reflect best practice.”
The intention of the new Lloyd’s Register Rules is to help clients understand the classification process and clearly set out the rules to be applied to various vessels and unit types, from the Lloyd’s Register classed ship to the Mobile Offshore Unit.
To support the development of these new Rules, Lloyd’s Register developed a set of client guidance notes (titled Mobile Offshore Units - Wind Turbine Installation Vessels) which were also approved at the recent Offshore Technical Committee where more than 100 industry stakeholders attended Lloyd’s Register’s Singapore based Group Technology Centre. These guidance notes provide summary information on classification rules and regulations, national administration requirements, documentation required to be submitted, and the Rules requirements for various types of units used in installing and maintaining offshore wind turbines.