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Norway offshore wind initiative taps cross-sector know-how

Norway’s Kongsberg Maritime plans to develop a new instrumentation system to cut the cost of offshore wind operation by applying cross-sector technology and expertise to boost turbine uptime.

The company’s NKr22m ($3.8m) Windsense project – a joint effort with instrumentation specialist NCEI (Norwegian Centres of Expertise Instrumentation) – aims to adapt equipment and maintenance methods common in the maritime and offshore oil and gas industries to cut unplanned shutdowns at wind farms.

As well as improving reliability via remote control and monitoring, the system gives operators the option to temporarily run the turbines at a lower capacity in advance of required maintenance, which would further reduce downtime.

Kongsberg Maritime project manager Oddbjørn Malmo says: “This system will primarily be an instrument for monitoring the technical condition of the wind turbine and the life-cycle of the components used. It will make it possible to more accurately predict when the equipment must be replaced.

“Today, such assessments are usually done by operators using handheld inspection equipment,” adds Malmo.

Some NKr10m of the funding for the three-year Windsense project has come from The Research Council of Norway under its Renergi programme.

Other project participants include oil and gas giant Statoil and power producer NTE.