The Business Case for Structural Health Monitoring for Floating Offshore Wind

Wolfgang Ruf, Vice President, Acteon (Pulse Monitoring)
Offshore floating wind structures (FWS) are increasingly popular choice to harness renewable energy in water depth greater than 60m. A significant share of the US offshore wind resource lays in water depth greater than 60m only suitable for floating solutions. The ability to anchor FWS in regions optimized for sustained windspeed and outside visibility horizon make them an attractive solution for renewable power generation. To produce renewable energy economically, wind turbine structures are continuously getting bigger and taller for improved power production. The floating structures used are still novel with a few demonstrators installed to date. Structural integrity, dynamic stability, corrosion, cable, and mooring anchor components are still largely unverified.

To limit the uncertainty around the performance of these “novel” structures, it is important to implement a cost-effective structural health monitoring system for offshore wind turbines, cables, transformer stations and connected interfaces. Long term structural health monitoring (SHM) is an important tool for reducing risk and cost in development, operations, and management of offshore floating wind farms.

This paper reviews the design and system integration considerations for an integrated offshore floating wind structural health monitoring system with a focus to the economic justification and business case to justify the capital expense. Further, consideration is given to the monitoring objectives, instrumentation requirements, specification and architecture, field development integration, and installation. Monitoring objectives are discussed, and event characterization methodology presented regarding selection of systems, their placement and location to adequately capture dynamic loading.