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How Spinergie helped coordinate an offshore wind foundation installation campaign

Spinergie successfully deployed Smart Fleet Management for a major project coordinator to track, manage and coordinate foundation installation operations on a 500 MW offshore wind farm in Northern Europe. The installation process involved using three feeder barges and 3 AHTS to transport the foundations to the main installation vessel (FIV) at the wind farm site.

Concept

The project coordinator was able to install all 71 foundations with a median of 1.2 hours per foundation. The method involved three feeder barges to transport foundations to the installation site from the operations port, where the FIV (Foundation Installation Vessel) was stationed to perform the installation. Until now, resorting to feeder barges has been justified when the main installation vessel does not have sufficient deck space to stow multiple foundations in one trip.  

Due to substantial growth in the offshore wind industry, and the increasing size of components, the current FIV fleet is unable to keep up with exploding demand. Developers are starting to look towards contracting heavy-lift vessels with less deck space, and using feeder barges to transport components. This method is also critical in kickstarting the US Offshore Wind industry to circumvent the lack of Jones Act-compliant FIVs. 

Challenge

The installation method involves several vessels working in close coordination with each other. This involvement of multiple stakeholders (harbour, harbour tugs, feeder barges and AHTS) hugely benefits from adapted digital tools designed to ensure the efficient management of operations. 

Lack of vessel coordination can easily result in FIVs facing significant periods of avoidable waiting time. Project delays have a direct impact on the budget, considering the current daily rates (installation vessels are typically chartered at rates circa $300,000 per day – at the time of writing). 

Spinergie's Solution

Spinergie's SFM (Smart Fleet Management) tool is built to track, coordinate and optimize offshore operations. 

SFM relies on a combination of algorithmic interpretation of vessels’ AIS signal in relation to geo-fenced locations, as well as other sources of data such as vessel or project Daily Progress Report and sensor data.

This allowed all stakeholders to have access to instant live updates on the project execution through:

  1. A live map displaying the latest installation phase completed on each foundation location
  2. Custom Alerts triggered by pre-defined events occurring (operations interruption or delay, new activity started, vessel over-speeding)
  3. An S-curve keeping track of progress, featuring estimated completion dates for each installation phase
  4. Project execution analytics (cycle times, identification of causes of avoidable standby time and non-productive time)
  5. Fuel consumption & carbon emission KPIs meticulously analysing fuel sensor data to build an emission profile of the entire campaign
  6. A reliable track record of all marine operations displayed on the Map and dynamic Gantt charts.

The Live Map is a dynamic map displaying the latest project update. It includes live vessel positions as well as the latest project installation updates, with each foundation location colour-coded according to installation phases: 

  • Bedding layer completed
  • Foundation on site
  • Foundation installed
  • Scour protection completed

This helps save considerable amounts of time required to collect updates from multiple contractors. It also ensures the information is accurate, up-to-date, and available on demand.

Custom Alerts allows stakeholders to receive instant email notifications upon pre-defined events occurring. Such events can be linked to project execution (e.g., activity completed, ETA notification, operations delayed) or vessel activity (e.g., over-speeding, slow transit).

This resulted in a perfectly coordinated schedule between the harbour, the barges and the FIV:

  • It minimized waiting time for the FIV, ensuring that it always had foundations ready to be installed
  • Barge rotations and AHTS rotations between loadout and installation site were optimized, minimizing waiting time. 

Detailed S-curves reports feature the latest project completion update, broken down by installation phase. Each curve symbolizes the progress made per installation phase and project completion timelines with different scenarios (expected, optimistic or pessimistic). These automatically adjusted forecasts helped stakeholders understand the impact of delays on the project's overall completion timeline. 

A reliable track record of marine operations is always available and can be displayed dynamically on the map or on vessel timeline Gantt charts. This allowed the stakeholders to monitor the activity of the three feeder barges with respect to the FIV vessel on-site with high precision. 

Project Execution analytics of the detailed marine operation records provided stakeholders with an analytical view of installation cycles (one complete movement of the barge from load-out to arriving back into the port). This allowed stakeholders to deep dive on actionable KPIs such as major causes of delay, evolution of vessel cycle times, analysis of fuel consumption per vessel and per cycle, among others. 

Emission KPIs generated through a dedicated fuel analytical toolkit helped the Client prepare a detailed report of the project's impact on the environment and fuel consumption. Using this, the Client was able to compare the fuel and emission savings achieved through their installation approach when compared with the traditional methods (e.g. avoiding emissions of a large deck-space FIV transiting back and forth from the harbour; saving on excess waiting time fuel consumption thanks to enhanced coordination, …). 

Result

Thanks to Spinergie's state-of-the-art digitalization of the installation campaign, the project manager was able to complete the project smoothly and ahead of schedule. It was also the best performing wind farm installation campaign in the Client's portfolio. 

The exponential growth of Offshore Wind has spawned many challenges. Find out what this means for the supply chain of the industry.

Published on
February 3, 2023
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Drashya Goel
Marketing Content Manager

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