Bernd Eilitz Siemens Wind Power GmbH & Co. KG SGRE CC&PA EC Beim Strohhause 17-31 20097 Hamburg, Germany Tel.: +49 40 2889-8842 Mobile: +49 172 7741889
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Why Adaptation Is the New Reality for Offshore Wind Energy Logistics

Everything about the wind energy business is getting bigger. For example, current turbines averaging 4.1 MW with a hub height of 90 meters will soon be replaced by 11-MW giants with hubs 125 meters off sea level and blades spanning 190 meters. Their blade tips will cut the air at well over twice the height of the London Eye.

Offshore turbines will be particularly affected. Aleksi Minchev, marine and port operations specialist with WWL ALS (International) Ltd., predicts that offshore will be the growing market for the renewable sector.

“Onshore wind farms will obviously still be in the market, but more focus will be on the offshore as advancements in technology now means that there are capabilities to handle bigger turbines with more capacity, so reducing the number of turbines needed to be erected on the land,” Minchev said.

As offshore wind turbine components have increased in size and weight, it is becoming almost impossible to transport the blades, towers and nacelles by road or rail. “This is encouraging wind turbine manufacturers to shift their production facilities to the ports” he said.

Outmoding Conventional Transport Models

To service the rise in size and weight of wind turbine components, a suite of dedicated facilities for handling and transporting them have grown up, including new or converted roll-on/roll-off vessels, longer blade trailers, self-propelled modular trailers (SPMT) and blade adapters.

Purpose-built new roll-on/roll-off vessels handling bigger turbine components make regular weekly deliveries to Siemens in Hull, and according to Minchev, such vessels will transport offshore wind turbine components between Siemens Wind Power’s facilities in Hull, Cuxhaven, port Esbjerg and other installations. These vessels have specially developed bows and extendable ramps controlled by hydraulic systems and are able to carry up to 12 wind turbine rotor blades. The advantage, as Minchev points out is that “loading and discharging such vessels are more cost-effective by roll-on/roll-off vessels than the conventional lifting method.” Read more

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