Offshore Hubs project development

27 October 2020 - Published by Stig Marthinsen

For the last two years, the Periscope network has used deep dives and hackathons to identify new opportunities or markets worth over €50 million in the blue economy in the North Sea Region. One such is offshore hubs, led by partner Marine South East, and involving actors from around the North Sea.

The identified solution focuses on a tethered Support Operations Platform (SOP) that can offer a more cost-effective way of supporting O&M (operation and maintenance) and other activities including offshore sub-station functions. Possible use-cases for such a floating facility have been explored with multiple stakeholders and end-users through deep dives and 1-2-1 sessions. Such facilities would carry the energy storage and electrical systems, alongside other resources needed to maximise the scope of autonomous O&M interventions and to enhance the effectiveness of manned interventions.  

 The key features and user benefits of the SOP will be:

  • Hosting and recharging of one or more autonomous or remotely-piloted vessels for low-cost inspection in air and underwater, as well as a vessel capable of carrying technicians to service turbines (using helicopter transfer from shore to SOP), to eliminate long-distance vessel crew transfers;
  • Warehousing of spares and supplies to facilitate servicing, potentially resupplying the SOP from shore, and reducing supply vessel costs;
  • Integration of the SOP with the sub-station and export cable interface, thereby minimising capital cost and accessing power needed by the SOP itself;
  • Integration of surveillance and overall windfarm monitoring on the SOP, with high-bandwidth communications to shore, offering enhanced security, eliminating a separate met-mast/buoy, and potentially enabling information service offers to third-party clients. 

Construction and deployment of a SOP facility will require a range of engineering capabilities, most of which are available from companies at a high level of technological maturity.  As the solution advances, it is anticipated that a growing range of suppliers will engage, bringing a broad range of innovative components to the solution.  Currently, a number of key companies have been identified and engaged with to achieve a critical mass of interest.         

To learn more about this initiative and take part of it, please contact Jonathan Williams.