All ten of the UK’s offshore wind farm owner/operators have signed an agreement committing themselves to the SPARTA collaborative project with the ORE Catapult and The Crown Estate.
SPARTA (System Performance, Availability and Reliability Trend Analysis) has just completed a year-long pilot phase which demonstrated the various significant benefits that the system can deliver, including increased investor confidence and cost reduction.
The project provides, for the first time, anonymously shared data on a wide range of operational issues such as system downtime, repair interventions, weather conditions and crew transfers. This in turn allows owner/operators to benchmark their own performance, enabling them to focus on specific areas for improvement and identify measures to boost availability, reliability and the performance of turbines. The SPARTA database enables wind farm operators to anonymously submit performance data relating to their wind farm and provides owner/operators with regular benchmarking reports. This data is not openly available to the wider public, but is aimed at enhancing the performance of the industry.
The ten offshore wind owner/operators who have signed up to SPARTA, representing the entire UK installed offshore wind power capacity, are: Centrica Renewable Energy, DONG Energy, EDF Energy Renewables, E.ON Renewables, RWE Innogy, ScottishPower Renewables, SSE, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall.
An industry wide improvement in turbine availability of around 1 percent, arising from SPARTA, could potentially meet the energy requirements of an additional 31,000 homes, calculated against a wind-generated volume of 13.4 terrawatt hours (TWh).
“The pilot phase of the project has been extremely successful, and the feedback from owner/operators is that the platform is already helping them to make more informed decisions about the way they operate and manage their offshore installations” said Chris Hill, Director ORE Catapult’s Innovation Engineering and Programmes. “The fact that all of the owner/operators have recognised the benefits of participating in SPARTA, and have committed to its further development, is great news for the sector as it strives for further reductions in risk and cost. ORE Catapult will continue to support the programme, both in our role as project sponsor and also as the project manager tasked with operating, maintaining and further developing the database system.”
Huub den Rooijen at The Crown Estate added that collaborative systems like SPARTA have been used in the offshore oil and gas industry in order to optimise asset performance. SPARTA is a great example of how the offshore wind industry is maturing by learning from best practice elsewhere.
Adam Bruce, Chairman of the Offshore Wind Programme Board, said that the UK has the largest base of operating wind turbines in the world and therefore the offshore wind sector has an unrivalled knowledge base to draw on. SPARTA demonstrates how the industry is leading the way in innovative solutions to cost reduction, and is committed to driving down costs further in the coming years, ensuring that offshore wind can play a central role in the UK’s future energy mix.