Building an offshore wind farm

In this project, you will research and report on a fallen object during the construction of an offshore wind farm. The initial work took place at a depth of more than 40 metres in the North Sea at a location where the seas are often rough, the current strong and visibility minimal. In order to be able to install wind turbine foundations in these conditions, a pile-driving template is used. This template guides the anchoring piles, using a large pile driving hammer for each three-legged jacket foundation, driven into the seabed with millimetre precision. Subsequently, the wind turbine foundations are installed on the piles.

Theory, combined with practicable assumptions and decision-making, separate engineering from pure maths. Justified and good assumptions make a world of difference in practical situations. Bear this in mind during the project.

This research project has been structured in three parts:

  • Fallen object
  • Impacts
  • Recovery

Fallen object

During cable laying operations, a control panel (about the size of a domestic fridge and weighing 50kgs) became dislodged from the hammer and, at 12:40 on Wednesday 22 April 2020, dropped from the vessel which was in motion (travelling at 5 knots). Using assumptions and environmental details researched and provided by ScottishPower Renewables please calculate a best estimate of the location of the fallen object relative to the dropped location.

Impacts

Every action creates an impact. In this part, you should consider the impact of the hammer control panel falling. Would it still be in working condition after falling through water? How would the temperature or corrosion affect the control panel in the short to long term if not recovered? If it hit the cable what would the risk of damage or near miss risk be? You can provide your assumptions and substantiate them based on research carried out. Do you have any recommendations for how a developer can protect cables against such damage?

Recovery

In this part, you are tasked with researching methods of item recovery. You will be provided with a project programme to take into account other activities ongoing within the wind farm. Using the researched method, you should be able to provide the pros and cons for up to three different methods of recovery. In this process you should take into account health, safety and environmental factors as well as programme and cost implications. This information can be set out using a RAMS (Risk And Method Statement) template to help you structure your answer.

Information provided below by ScottishPower Renewables:

  • Wind farm map and location of vessel and seabed depths
  • Specification for hammer control panel, which includes electrical and hydraulic parts
  • Cable specification
  • Project programme and RAMS template

Remember to consider the criteria, guidance and structure for a CREST award as you plan, develop and complete your project.

Offshore wind: a research project (project guidance) (381.36 KB)
ScottishPower Renewables: Building an offshore wind farm (530.36 KB)
CREST: a guide to CREST awards (1.42 MB)
Wind farm map and location of vessel and seabed depths (381.36 KB)
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