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Structure Equipment and Systems for Offshore Wind Farms

Structure Equipment and Systems for Offshore Wind Farms

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Published by: famiralis on Jun 08, 2011
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01/08/2013

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The question may be asked who selects and certifies the Certifiers?

In ships, Class Societies are virtually a requirement for doing business, and they are a
mandated requirement by the International Maritime Organization when trading
internationally. These Certifiers are accredited through the International Association of
Classification Societies, which in turn relies upon the ISO process to assess the Class
Societies. In the US fixed platform world the class societies often perform the CVA
function when structures require certification, which is only specific classes of structure
i.e. those for deepwater, and floating structures.

The IEC notion of this is that for each country, there will be a body that accredits the
Certifiers and checks the competence of the body to do certain technical work. No
accreditation body has been appointed in the United States for this function in wind
turbines (although laboratory accreditation appears to be used in the USA).

“Accreditation: procedure by which an authoritative body gives formal
recognition that a body is impartial and technically competent to carry out
specific tasks such as certification, tests, specific types of tests etc.”

“Operating bodies shall be accredited by a national or international
accreditation body that has been internationally evaluated.”

Accreditation from the IEC Code appears to have a number of features:

“Operating bodies shall be capable and competent to operate their elements of
the wind turbine certification – “

So the first question is who can be an operating body?…first it needs to be someone who
knows about wind turbine certification – i.e. knows about blades and how to tell a good
one from a bad one, design, fabrication, installation etc., rotors, foundations –whatever is
being certified. A National Laboratory that carried out the tests? A classification society?
A Certifier such as SGS? or as carried out traditionally by MMS a registered Professional
Engineer with the right discipline that can demonstrate knowledge of the subject being
Certified or Verified (30 CFR 285.706).

IEC notes that a recognition arrangement should be made such that one Certifier will
recognize another one’s work, which we believe is not an easily workable arrangement in
the US (noted in 5.3).

“Operating bodies shall seek to obtain, preferably multilateral, recognition
arrangements for the acceptance of each others work, e.g. test results or quality
system certificates.”

There is a legal position that makes this difficult in the United States, and a technical
position because precisely what the other operating body checked may be uncertain.

MMS Order No. M09PC00015 Structure, Equipment and Systems: Commentary

msharples@offshore-risk.net

36

There have been many difficulties in making such a system work in the marine business,
so it may be unlikely this is workable in the US with offshore wind farms business.

“Certification Bodies operating type and project certification according to
this specification shall seek to establish and participate in a joint Advisory
Committee. The committee should establish by-laws and provide advice to the
operating bodies on”

Another notion in the same vein is the idea of a joint “Advisory Committee”, which does
not exist in the United States and is unlikely to find a home in any of the Government
agencies (noted in 5.4).

While this accreditation scheme appears to work in Europe, it seems unlikely that such an
arrangement will happen in the USA. While this may be a theoretically good goal,
recognition of certification organizations in the ship classification business has been
problematic: relying upon other certifiers has legal issues in the USA; precisely what was
checked and how thoroughly is often an issue; and in a competitive marketplace
accepting a competitor’s certificate, the basis of which is probably not disclosed for
confidentiality reasons just doesn’t seem workable for the organization taking on the
responsibility to rely upon another’s work.

Without the acceptance body, there is no definition of the requirements to be a Certifier
and the qualifications of the individual personnel who do the surveillance. There is no
requirement in the check of technical procedures in the ISO certification process for a
company. If the technical check on a wind farm in a company’s technical requirements
was that they checked it was painted green, and all of those they certified were painted
green – that would be sufficient. “We say what we do and we do what we say” is the ISO
Company certification process.

It seems likely, in our view, that the current method of acceptance of the certifier by the
MMS CVA process is likely to prevail and a process similar to that used in Germany
results. It may be that the project certifier and the CVA are the same entity, although less
conflict of interest may result from the CVA and project certifier being different entities.

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