Impact of Weather Windows in Offshore Wind Farm Operation and

Maintenance expenses
Tiago Rocha
Instituto Superior Técnico, Avenida Rovisco Pais 1, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
Corresponding author’s E-mail: Tiagomiguelrocha@tecnico.ulisboa.pt
October 2014

Abstract
Offshore wind (OW) is an emerging technology in the wind energy conversion system, where wind resources are stronger and more
consistent, in terms of their availability, than land-based wind resources. The present article intents to analyse the impact of weather windows
for this emergent technologies operation and maintenance (O&M) expenses. Up to 25-30% of the total cost of energy from OW generation
is associated to O&M tasks, where the biggest share of the cost belongs to downtime. According to this, an O&M strategy focused in
maximizing the yield and minimizing the downtime of wind turbine can be a key factor to validate this type of investments.
In order to achieve an optimal strategy, focused in reduce O&M expenses, a tool has been developed using MATLAB software. Then it
was implemented to obtain the O&M expenditures for a future offshore wind farm (OWF) that will be located off the coast of Portugal, in
Viana do Castelo.
From the case study it can be concluded that OWF average monthly accessibility for 1 hour weather window will vary from 3% to 79%
depending on mission requirements and time of the year. This results in an O&M cost, for the techno-economics information admitted, of
23.05 €/MWh, corresponding to a Net Present Value (NPV) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR) for the investment of 4.78 M€ and 9.19%,
respectively. These are good economical values although, they can be improved, through an optimization strategy, in order to lower the O&M
expenses to 9.14 €/MWh, getting a NPV and IRR of 14.2 M€ and 10.49%, respectively.
Keywords: Weather Window; Operation and Maintenance; Availability; Downtime; Accessibility; Offshore Wind Farm.

1.

Introduction

The increasing demand of electrical energy along with the
increase of prices of fossil fuels and the emissions of
greenhouse gases, induced an investment in renewable
energy resources. European Union’s (EU) renewable energy
policy intent to achieve, inside of EU, a 34% renewable
electricity supply in 2020 and a 100% by 2050 [1].
Wind energy will be one of the pillars to achieve
energetic sustainability in the EU. It can be produced both
onshore and offshore, with an expected installation of 282
GW in 2020, from which, up to 1/3 will be in an offshore
environment [2].
Despite the difficulties, it is actually possible to install
OWF using not only fixed structures, used in shallow waters
or onshore, but also using floating platforms. This
innovation allows to eliminate technical constraints related
to water depth. An example of this achievement is the
WindFloat, an offshore wind turbine of 2 MW located near
shore, at Póvoa de Varzim in Portugal. This type of OW
systems implies, at least for now, more demanding and
expensive technology, but also a larger effort in O&M tasks,
induced by its accessibility condition.
OWF accessibility, defined as the percentage of time that
the farm can be accessed, is one of the key elements to ensure

a high level of its availability, i.e. high percentage of time in
which the farm is able to produce energy. This accessibility
will be influenced not only by the meteorological conditions
at the location but essentially by the requirement of the
weather window (WW). This can be defined as the
occurrence of meteorological conditions that allow the crew
access to the farm, perform the O&M tasks and return to the
shore.
The availability of an OWF is a function of the adopted
O&M strategy, its accessibility and the theoretical
availability, which in the other hand is a function of
reliability, effective maintenance and serviceability, as show
in the figure 1.
Reliability
(failures/year)

Maintainability
(ease of repair)

Serviceability
(ease of service)

O&M
strategy

Theoretical
availability

Accessibility

Availability
Fig. 1. Model of obtaining the accessibility of an OWF [3].

Impact of Weather Windows in Offshore Wind Farm Operation and Maintenance expenses

Despite the fact that the availability achieves high values
for onshore wind farms, these values decrease as the distance
to shore increases, as can be seen by the figure 2, using a boat
as a vehicle.

will be used in the study of the future OWF, located off the
coast of Viana do Castelo, Portugal.
2. Techno-economic model of corrective O&M

Availability as a function of accessibility

Availability [%]

100
90
80
70

0
100
(onshore)

80
60
(near shore)
(offshore)
Accessibility [%]

40
(remote offshore)

Fig. 2. Availability of OWF as a function of its accessibility [4].

According to [5] it is possible to achieve availability
values for OWF above 98%. This study considered 10 wind
turbines, located near shore, at Odder in Denmark, with high
values of accessibility and an active O&M activities.
For the present article, the set of O&M tasks inherent to a
sustainable use of the OWF can be categorized in 2
maintenance categories [6]:

Preventive maintenance – corresponds to a
systematic control and monitoring operations, with
the objective of avoiding failures. This kind of
operation has a reasonably constant effort during the
lifetime of the farm;
Corrective maintenance – operation aimed at
restoring, correcting or recovering the productive
capacity of the turbine. Its major effort appear at the
beginning and at the end of the OWF lifetime.

1.

2.

3.

The effort related with O&M tasks will depend
on the repair time, which can be defined as the
period of time from the beginning of the failure
until the system returns to its nominal
performance. This repair time can be divided in
three stages:
Logistic time – Includes all the preparatory
phase to repair the wind turbine, which include
organizing the repair crew, obtaining the
necessary material and waiting for the arrival of
the vessels;
Waiting time – Amount of time in which it is not
possible to access the OWF, due to bad weather
conditions. This is the main responsible for the
downtime of the farm, reaching the 90% of total
downtime in the present case study;
Mission time – This time includes the travel time
to the turbine, the repair time and the travel time
back to shore.

From what was showed in the present chapter, it has
become clear the increase of O&M effort as the OWF moves
from Onshore to Offshore environment. As a consequence, it
is essential to build a tool that allows us studying the impact
of the weather windows in O&M expenses. Then this tool

Besides the graphs that will be showed at the chapters 4
and 5, the techno-economic model of corrective O&M,
together with the model of the chapter 3 will allow to obtain
the values to perform the economic analysis and evaluate the
impact of weather windows in O&M expenses, presented in
the chapters 6 and 7, respectively.
The scheme in the figure 3, represents the structure of the
techno-economic model of corrective O&M built using the
MATLAB software.
As it can be seen, the model of figure 3 is composed of
three sub-models: Manipulation model, Technical O&M
model and economical O&M model. These perform roughly
the following steps:
1.
2.

3.

4.

Receives the meteorological data and inserts them
into the Manipulation model to perform its
formatting, categorization and interpolation;
The manipulated data is transferred to the Technical
O&M model along with OC, resulting the waiting
time to obtain a WW as a function of MD and another
information that will not be used by the Economic
model, but allow to get the graphs of the figures 11
to 14;
The values of waiting time to obtain a WW as a
function of MD are inserted into the Economic O&M
model together with technical and economical
specifications;
From the Economic O&M model results the average
annual expenses and energy produced by OWF, from
which can be easily obtained the average annual
expenses of corrective O&M per energy produced.
Operational conditions

Accessibility
for each WW

Data

Manipulation
Model

Manipulated
data

Number of
WW as a
function of
its duration

Technical
specifications

Economic
O&M
Model

Technical
O&M
Model

Expenses &
Energy
gerada

Average annual
cost of corrective
O&M in €/MWh

Economical
specifications
Fig. 3. Scheme of techno-economic model of corrective O&M.

2
Rocha T.

Impact of Weather Windows in Offshore Wind Farm Operation and Maintenance expenses

In the next three subchapters the operations mode of each
sub-model will be explained.
2.1. Manipulation model
The manipulation model is the smallest of the three
models, and its function is to manipulate weather data,
performing roughly and briefly the following steps:
1.

Model receives weather data in csv format and
transforms it to mat format;
2. After transforming the weather data, the model
proceeds to its interpolation from 3 hour time
steps to 1 hour time step.
After being transformed and interpolated the values are
inserted into the technical O&M model.
2.2. Technical O&M model
The technical O&M model is responsible for the selection
of data received from the last model performing the
following steps:
1.
2.
3.

Receives the manipulated weather data and the
operation conditions (OC) specifications;
Verifies the OC requirements (table 10) and computes
the periods that allow to access the OWF;
The model performs three separate operations:

Computes the accessibility values for each
month. After having the monthly accessibility,
the model computes the trimestral and annual
accessibility.

Determines the number and duration of each
weather window. Later on the model selects the
weather window by trimester and makes the
average of the last 21 years, as shown in the
figures 13 and 14.

The model determines the beginning and the
end of each WW. These values will be used to
compute the average waiting time to obtain a
weather window as a function of mission
duration, as presented in the figures 15 and 16.
Finally these values will be used by the
economic model.
The average waiting time to obtain a weather window will
be used in the Economic O&M model.
2.3. Economic O&M model
This model is characterized by being the largest of the
three sub-models. It contains a large set of information
regarding the technical and economic specifications and
average waiting time to obtain a weather window as a
function of its duration. This will be used to compute the
average annual O&M expenses and the energy produced by
the OWF.
In order to explain the operating mode of this model a
brief description of the techno-economic specification is
required.

2.3.1. Technical specifications
Technical specifications describe, in a precise way, the
information regarding the materials and the procedures
introduced in the construction of the algorithm.
In order to evaluate the impact of the failures in the
corrective O&M expenses, a failure mode and effect analysis
must be done, according to table 1 [8][10][14][16][17][18].
Table 1.
Failure Mode and Effects Analyses for a generic wind turbine.
Logistic
Prob. of
Repair
Maintenance
time
failure
time
System
category
[h]
[%/year]
[h]
0.213
3
3
8
Gearbox
2
10
48
0.013
1
50
160
0.226
0.065
3
3
8
Generator
2
10
48
0.026
1
50
160
0.039
0.014
3
3
8
Blade
2
10
48
0.014
1
50
160
0.041
1
40
500
0.001
0.075
3
3
8
Pitch
mechanism
0.075
2
10
48
0.105
3
3
8
Control
system
2
10
48
0.105
3
3
8
0.001
Shaft &
bearing
1
40
500
0.009
0.243
3
3
8
Electrical
system
2
10
48
0.022
0.005
1
50
160
Yaw
3
3
8
0.13
system
2
10
48
0.068
Mechanical
brake

0.002
0.04
0.01

1
3
2

40
3
10

500
8
48

For the maintenance categories and repair strategies
introduced in the code, it was used a simplified model of
[10], [15] and [19], presented in the tables 2 and 3.
Table 2.
Action Sequence for each Maintenance Category Type
Maintenance
Category

Seq.

Task

1

1

Transit to
site

Average
duration
[h]
Cruising
speed ×
Distance
to farm

WW
HS
[m]
2.5

U10
[m/s]
12

Remove
moorings

24

0.9

10

3

Tow wind
turbine to
shipyard

Drag
speed ×
Distance
to farm

2.5

12

4

Repair at
port

Table 1

-

-

5

Tow wind
turbine to
site

Cruising
speed ×
Distance
to farm

2.5

12

2

3
Rocha T.

Impact of Weather Windows in Offshore Wind Farm Operation and Maintenance expenses

2

Connect
moorings

24

0.9

10

7

Transit to
shipyard

Cruising
speed ×
Distance
to farm

2.5

12

Cruising
speed ×
Distance
to farm

2.5

12

0,5

0.9

10

Table 5.
Vessels costs

1

0.9

10

Vessel

0.9

10

AHTS
Windcat with crane
Windcat without crane

2.5

12

1

2
3
4

Transit to
site
Accessing
the turbine
Putting
loads on the
platform
Repair at
site
Transit to
shipyard

5
3

1

2
3

Transit to
site
Accessing
the turbine
Repair at
site
Transit to
shipyard

4

Table 1
Cruising
speed ×
Distance
to farm
Cruising
speed ×
Distance
to farm

2&3

48

2.5

12

0.5

0.9

10

Table 1

0.9

10

Cruising
speed ×
Distance
to farm

2.5

12

Table 3.
Operational characteristics of each vessel.
Cruising
Drag
Maintenance
speed
speed
Vessel
Category
[km/h]
[km/h]
1
24
7.4
AHTS
Windcat

Table 4.
Materials cost for each maintenance category
Average materials costs
Maintenance category
[% of investment cost]
0.03%
1
0.8 %
2
7%
3

Average crew
[nº de
technicians]

Feed-in tariff

80 €/h
4 M€/MW

The values presented in the figure 4 and in the tables 1 to
6 will be used, along with technical specifications to
compute the generated energy, downtime and O&M
expenses, according to the next subchapter.


2.01

1.

2000
12
16
Wind Speed [m/s]

20

24

3.

Fig. 4. Power curve for a wind turbine V164-8MW
Source: Vestas catalogue

4.
2.3.2. Economic specifications
The economic specifications illustrate the information
regarding the costs of materials and vessels, among other

Vessels are always ready at the shipyard;
In the maintenance categories 2 and 3 (table 2),
it will be used the OC#1 for all the tasks, instead
of using OC#2 for transit.

To compute the annual expenditures and energy
generated, the model must perform roughly the following
steps:

2.

8

168 €/MWh

Investment cost

4000

4

57 000
2 500
2 000

Technician cost

4.01

-

6000

0
0

Rest cost [€/day]

Table 6.
Feed-in tariff, technician cost and investment cost

Wind turbine power curve

8000

MOB/DEMOB
cost [€]
150 000
-

2.3.2. Calculation procedure for the economic model
The calculation procedure will be specified here, taking
into account the follow assumptions:

In order to generate electricity, three wind turbines, with
a power of 8 MW each, with the power curve equal to that
in figure 4, were considered.

Power [kW]

values inserted into the Economic O&M model, as shown
tables 4 to 6 [8][20][23][24][25][33].

6

5.

For each failure type, in the table 1, the model
associates a sequence of actions, according to
table 2, resulting in the logistics time and
mission duration;
Uses the waiting time to obtain a WW as a
function of its mission duration, from the
technical O&M model, the logistic time and
mission duration in order to obtain the total
downtime associated to each failure;
Simultaneously the model computes the
expenses of each failure, according to the tables
4 to 6, resulting the crew, materials and vessel
costs;
Obtains the corrective O&M costs for each
failure, adding the values to point 3 and 5;
To each failure it will be assigned its probability
(table 1), resulting in the average annual costs
and downtime per failure;

4
Rocha T.

Impact of Weather Windows in Offshore Wind Farm Operation and Maintenance expenses

6.

7.
8.
9.

Computes the gross average hourly generated
energy 1 , in the last 21 years, using the power
curve of the figure 4 and the wind speed at 80 m,
nacelle height, as well as the energy losses due
to downtime, resulting in the net average hourly
generated energy;
The revenues losses will be computed by
multiplying the energy losses by the feed-in
tariff, presented in the table 6;
Computes the availability of the OWF by the
different between annually hours and downtime,
dividing by annually hours;
Computes the corrective O&M costs as a
function of energy generated by dividing
corrective O&M (at the point 4) by the net
generated energy (at the point 6).

After computing the corrective O&M costs, it will be
added to preventive O&M cost, obtained in the next chapter,
in order to get all O&M costs of the OWF.

MD
×
Number of
technicians
×
Cost per
technician

Sum of the
expenditures

MD
×
Rental cost of
the vessel

Average
anual energy
genereted

Expenditures
&
Downtime

Average annual cost of
preventive O&M in
€/MWh

Material costs

Fig. 5. Schematization of the Techno-economic model of preventive
O&M.

3. Techno-economic model of preventive O&M
The preventive O&M tasks are performed in a
predetermined time interval or according to the criteria
indicators of the integrity of the material, aiming to mitigate
situations of unavailability of the turbine [12].
The evaluation of the costs due to preventive maintenance
tasks, for the present case study, will be carried out using a
strategy of time based maintenance (TBM). This is a
maintenance operation performed according to established
intervals of time, without performing the monitoring of the
equipment [13].
In order to proceed with the analyses of the preventive
O&M expenses, a set of the techno-economic values are
needed. These values include information regarding the
characteristics of the mission, materials, crew and vessel
costs for one wind turbine, according to table 7
[21][25][26][27][28].
Table 7.
Techno-economics specifications for preventive O&M.
28 hours
Average mission duration
3.5 technicians
Average number of technicians
Windcat
Vessel
80 €/hour
Average cost per technician
16 500 €
Average material costs
2 000 €/day
Rental cost of the vessel
+ 25 %
OWF accessibility

3.1. The construction of the Model
The average annual expenditure regarding the preventive
O&M task will be achieved through the implementation
of a less complex model, presented in the figure 5,
compared to the model presented in Chapter 2.

This model is composed of three types of expenses
referring to crews, vessel and materials. It performs the
following steps:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Crews expenses are obtained by the
multiplication of mission duration, number of
technicians and cost per technician;
Vessel rent is obtained by the multiplication of
MD and the daily rental cost of the vessel;
Obtaining the sum of all expenses together with
the downtime, which is equal to 25 % of the
mission duration due to OWF accessibility;
After obtained the expenses and downtime, the
model receives the annual energy produced,
from Techno-economic model of corrective
O&M, and computes the average annual
expenses of preventive O&M per energy
produced in €/MWh.

4. Characterization of the study area
The location of the OWF is, along with capital
expenditure, the element with the greatest influence on the
profitability of a wind energy investment. Its location will
have a direct influence in the amount of energy produced, as
well as the accessibility of the farm. This led to the choice of
the coast of Viana do Castelo in Portugal, with the
characterization presented in the table 8.
Table 8
Geographic characterization of the case study.
Distance to
shipyard [km]
10

1

Depth [m]
35

Pilot plant
Latitude
Longitude
41º42’57.6”
-8º57’25.2”

This energy it’s compute for a 100% availability, i.e. no failures.

5
Rocha T.

Impact of Weather Windows in Offshore Wind Farm Operation and Maintenance expenses

In order to proceed the meteorological characterization, a
set of data, containing significant wave height (HS), wind
speed at 10 meters (U10) and the respective directions, are
needed. For that purpose it was requested to BMT Argoss
EU Shelf hindcast which was responsible for the
computation, validation and calibration of the data received.
The wind and wave data records were obtained with a
precision of 0.01 m, in intervals of 3 hours, covering a period
of 21 years. This data will be used as an accessibility
restriction.
The wind data will be used not only as an accessibility
restriction, but also to compute the amount of energy
produced by the wind turbine. For this purpose, the wind
speed must be extrapolated to the height of the nacelle.

= 𝑍

) 𝑍
0 𝑍𝑅

ln( ) 𝑍
0

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Probability distribution function of Hs

0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1

2

4

6
8
Wave height [m]

10

12

Fig. 8. Weibull distribution of HS for the case study (λ = 2.7079; k = 1.7465).

Influence of seasonality in Hs
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Fig. 9. Influence of seasonality in wave height for the case study.

U10 [m/s]
25.28
6.84
0.73
3.23

Hs [m]
13.21
2.40
0.15
1.48

In order to get a more precise characterization of the
meteorological conditions a set of histograms and a
probability distribution function will be presented for the
wind and wave resources in the figures 6 to 9.

From figures 6 to 9, it is possible to verify the strong wind
resource, its low variation seasonally and the very low
probability of occurrence wind speed above 24 m/s, which is
the cut-down wind speed of the turbine (see chapter 2). This
location has also a good wave energy resource, strongly
influenced by seasonality, which will be one of the main
factors of inaccessibility of the farm, been more restricted in
winter and less in summer.

Probability distribution function of U10

0.14
Probability of occurrence

Feb

0.5

Jan

Table 9
Synthesis of the case study meteorological data.

5. Weather window

0.12
0.1
0.08
0.06
0.04
0.02
0
0

Jan

Fig. 7. Influence of seasonality in wind speed at 10 meters for the case
study.

0
0

(1)

Table 9 presents a light synthesis of the meteorological
condition of the case study where it can be seized the good
values of wind and wave energy resources.

U80 [m/s]
30.33
8.20
0.88
3.88

10

0

ln(

Where:
U(Z) – Wind speed at nacelle height [m/s];
U(ZR) – Wind speed recorded [m/s];
Z – Nacelle height [m];
ZR – Recorded wind height [m];
Z0 – Roughness of the soil, admitted as 3×10-4 m.

Maximum
Average
Minimum
Standard deviation

15

5

Wave height [m] 𝑈

(𝑍) 𝑈
(𝑍𝑅 )

20

Wind speed [m/s]

4.1. Meteorological characterization

Influence of seasonality in U10
25

Probability of occurrence

This location was chosen mainly due to its high wind
resource, together with a nearby grid connection and a lower
depth that allowed to install the mooring system in an
economical sustainable way, since its prices strongly
increase with the depth [7].

5

10

15
Wind speed [m/s]

20

25

A weather window is defined as the occurrence of
meteorological condition that allows crew’s access to the
farm, in order to perform the O&M tasks and return to shore.
This means that the duration of the weather window must be
bigger or equal to the mission duration (MD), according to
the scheme of figure 10.

Fig. 6. Weibull distribution for U10 for the case study (λ = 7.739;
k = 2.2347).

6
Rocha T.

Impact of Weather Windows in Offshore Wind Farm Operation and Maintenance expenses

Monthly accessibility for OC #1
WW
found

Waiting for
a WW
No

Turbine
available

Mission
begins

Yes

60

Accessibility [%]

Failure
occurrence

WW duration
it’s greater
than MD?

40
20
0
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Fig. 11. Monthly accessibility for OC of type 1.

Monthly accessibility for OC #2

Fig. 10. Scheme to obtain a weather window.


OC type 1 – Includes minor O&M activities to
be done offshore using a workboat, for example
the Windcat;
OC type 2 – This category contains major O&M
activities to be performed onshore. In this case,
the wind turbine will be towed to shore using a
large vessel, for example the AHTS.

For the present article only the HS and the U10 were
admitted as accessibility’s restriction due to the lack of
available information. However, there are other factors that
might influence OWF accessibility, as the wave period and
daylight.
Each type of OC will be associated with one weather
window, presented in table 10, taking into account the work
made by [9][10][11].
Table 10
Weather window for each type of OC.
OC
#1
#2

Weather window
Hs maximum [m]
U10 maximum [m/s]
0.9
10
2.5
12

From table 10 it is possible to realise that OC of the type
1 are more demanding than OC of the type 2, which will
result in different values of accessibility, number of annual
weather windows and waiting times to obtain a weather
window.
5.1. Accessibility
Since OWF accessibility depends on meteorological and
OC, it is possible to conclude that each OC will have a
different accessibility value. Figures 11 and 12 present the
monthly accessibility values for a 1 hour weather window
for OC of type 1 and 2, respectively.

80
60
40
20
0

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Fig. 12. Monthly accessibility for OC of type 2.

As expected, the OWF presents lower values of
accessibility for OC #1 than OC # 2, with a mean annual
accessibility of 8% and 54%, respectively. Once these values
were obtained for 1 hour weather window, the accessibility
values for these two OC will be lower than presented, since
mission durations are larger than 1 hour.
5.2. Average annual number of weather windows
The previous chapter showed the influence of the OC in
the OWF accessibility, without taking into account the
influence of the mission duration. The graphs presented in
figures 13 and 14 show the average annual number of
weather windows as a function of its duration. This takes
into account that one weather window of 6 hours contains
two weather window of 3 hours.
The figures allow us to analyse the influence of mission
duration in obtaining the number of WW. As an example, for
OC #1 an increase of mission duration from 3 to 6 hours will
decrease the annual number of WW from 218 to 102.
Average annual number of WW for OC #1

250
Number of WW

The duration and frequency of occurrence of a weather
window will depend on the combination of meteorological
conditions and the type of O&M task. Each type of O&M is
associated to a number of constraints, namely maximum
values of HS and U10 that allows access to the OWF.
In order to proceed this case study, the following (OC)
were defined [8]:

Accessibility [%]

100

1º Trimester
2º Trimester
3º Trimester
4º Trimester

200
150
100
50
0

3

6

9

12 15 18 21
Duration of WW [hour]

24

Fig. 13. Number of weather windows as a function of mission duration.

7
Rocha T.

Number of WW

Impact of Weather Windows in Offshore Wind Farm Operation and Maintenance expenses

Average annual number of WW for OC #2

1750
1500
1250
1000
750
500
250
0

6. Techno-economic analysis of the case study

1º Trimester
2º Trimester
3º Trimester
4º Trimester

3

6

9

12
15
18
21
Duration of WW [hour]

24

Fig. 14. Number of weather windows as a function of mission duration.

Despite providing information on the annual number of
WW as a function of its duration, figures 13 and 14 do not
provide any information regarding the waiting time to obtain
a WW. This will be presented in the next chapter.
5.3. Waiting time to obtain a weather window

Waiting time [hour]

The waiting time for a WW is associated with OWF
accessibility, since low accessibility values will lead to
larger values of waiting time, and vice-versa. This will be
one of the key factors in O&M costs, since high values of
waiting time will lead to larger costs on crew and vessels, as
well as a greater amount of energy not produced, when the
wind turbine is unavailable and there is enough wind
resource to do it.
The figures 15 and 16 show the waiting time to obtain a
WW as a function of mission duration, for the OC type 1 and
2, respectively, from which can be confirmed the more
demanding OC #1, where there is larger waiting time to
obtain a WW, than OC #2. For example, to obtain a WW of
20 hours for the OC #1 it is necessary to wait, on average,
865 hours against the 102 hours of OC #2.
Waiting time for a WW as a function of mission duration for OC #1
15000
5% shorter waiting times
12000 Average waiting time
5% greatest waiting times
9000
6000
3000
0
0

5

10
15
Mission duration [hour]

20

25

Fig. 15. Waiting time to obtain a WW as a function of mission duration
for OC #1.

This chapter presents a techno-economic analysis of the
case study, whose characteristics were presented in the
chapters 2 and 3. From this analyses will result capital values
to validate OWF investments, namely the average annual
energy produced, expenditures regarding O&M tasks and the
NPV of the investment.
Table 11 presents the average annual values of the
downtime, availability, capacity factor, energy loss, O&M
expenses and the produced energy, per turbine. From this it
is possible to elaborate the performances analysis of future
OWF, presented in the table 12.
Table 11.
Average annual techno-economic characterization regarding the O&M
tasks, per turbine.
Corrective
Preventive
Total
O&M tasks
O&M tasks
Downtime [h]
49.6
0.0
49.6
Logistics
714.5
7.0
721.5
Waiting
6.5
0.6
7,1
Travel
18.8
27.4
46.2
Repair
789.4
35.0
824.4
Total
91.0
99.6
90.6
Availability [%]
37.5
41.1
37.3
Capacity factor [%]
Loss of production
2 602.6
115.4
2 718
[MWh]
Expenses [€]
47 055
16 500
63 555
Material costs
2 202
7 840
10 042
Crews costs
69 333
4 000
73 333
Vessels costs
437 263
19 389
456 652
Revenue losses
555 853
47 729
603 582
Total
Energy production
26 187
[MWh]

Table 12.
Average annual techno-economic characterization of the future OWF.
Energy [MWh]
Loss of production
8 155
Energy production
78 561
Cash flow [€]
O&M expenses
1 810 740
Gross revenues
14 568 300
Net revenues
12 757 560
23.05
Expenditures [€/MWh]

From the tables 11 and 12 it is possible to analyse relevant
values and take the following conclusions:

Waiting time [hour]


Waiting time for a WW as a function of mission duration for OC #2
1250
5% shorter waiting times
1000 Average waiting time
5% greatest waiting times
750
500

250
0
0

10

20
30
Mission duration [hour]

40

50

OWF accessibility of 90.6%. Similar value
obtained by [29] and [30]. However, this value
might be lower, since it was only considered as
a limiting element of accessibility the HS and
U10, together with the lack of failure modes
concerning the floating platform and electrical
cables;
A capacity factor of 37.3%. A value that lies
within the values obtained by [30] and the values
indicated by [31] and [32] for the study area;

Fig. 16. Waiting time to obtain a WW as a function of mission duration
for OC #2.

8
Rocha T.

Impact of Weather Windows in Offshore Wind Farm Operation and Maintenance expenses




With the average annual values of revenues and
expenditures, it was possible to realize a viability analyses
of the investment through the calculation of the NPV and the
IRR of the investment. To elaborate the economic analyses,
the values of the table 13 will be used [25][37][38][39].
Table 13.
Data used in economic viability analysis.
Lifetime
Investment cost
Average annual revenue
Average annual expenditure
WACC
Inflation rate
Tax

20
96
14.6
1.8
8.5
2.23
23

Years
M€
M€
M€
%
%
%

The investment has a NPV of 4.78 M€ and an IRR of
9.19%. Despite the fact that these are positive economic
values, the viability of the investment may be compromised
with the introduction of the new failure modes and new
accessibility restrictions.
7. Impact of weather windows
The present chapter will analyse the impact of weather
windows in OWF O&M expenses. Beginning with a graph
that represents its influence in the OWF accessibility, taking
into account the last 21 years of data and a weather window
of 1 hour.
Figure 17 illustrates the variation of OWF accessibility as
a function of wind speed (in red), the wave height (in blue)
and combination of both of these resources (in green). Note

100

Accessibility [%]

that, for the red and blue line, only the values of wind speed
and wave height, respectively, will be considered to compute
the accessibility values.
Variation of accessibility as a function of U10 and Hs

80
60
40

Wind speed
Wave height
Both U10 & Hs

20
0
0

2.5

5
7.5
10
12.5
15
17.5
20
Wind speed [m/s] and Wave height [m]
Fig. 17. Variation of OWF accessibility as a function of U10 and HS.

Comparing the values of figure 16, with the values
obtained in the figures 8 and 9, it is possible to conclude that,
for the OC used in this case study, the limitation with greater
influence on the accessibility is HS. As an example, the
OC#1 presents an average accessibility value of 8%,
according to the figure 8, which represents an average
accessibility of 9% and 83% inherent to HS and U10,
respectively according the figure 17.
After having illustrated the influence of each resource in
the OWF accessibility, it will be presented their influence in
the O&M expenditures, according to each OC, in the figures
18 and 19. Note that to compute the variation of the O&M
expenses, only one of each four values1 presented of the two
figures will change, while the other three will remain
constant.
O&M expenses [€/MWh]

An unavailability of 8,4 %, which causes a loss
of production of 8155 MWh per year,
corresponding to a revenue loss of 1.37 M€ per
year, for a feed tariff of 168 €/MWh;
The total downtime of the OWF is 2473.2 hours
per year, 96% of which corresponds to
corrective O&M;
The waiting time represents 91% of downtime
due to corrective maintenance;
From the total of 1.81 M€ regarding the O&M
expenditures, 92% corresponds to corrective
O&M;
Revenue losses represents 78% of the costs due
to corrective O&M;
An annual energy produced by the OWF of
78561 MWh, which represents a gross revenue
of 14.57 M€;
O&M costs of 23.05 €/MWh, representing 14%
of levelized cost of energy, according to [10] and
[33]. This O&M costs are similar to those
obtained by [34], [35] and [36]. However, the
O&M expenditures could amount to 30 €/MWh,
according to [35] and [36], with the introduction
of the new failure modes and new accessibility’s
restriction;

Variation of O&M expenses as a funtion of Hs for OC#1 and OC#2
50
OC#1
OC#2
40
30
20
10
0
0

5
7
8
9
10
64
7.5
96 10.5
12
13.5
15
Wave height [m]
Fig. 18. Variation of O&M expenditures as a function of HS for both type of
OC.

O&M expenses [€/MWh]

1
1.5

32

3
4.5

Variation of O&M expenses as a funtion of U10 for OC#1 and OC#2
60
OC#1
OC#2
50
40
30
20
0
0

4

6

8

10
12
14
16
18
20
Wind speed [m/s]
Fig. 19. Variation of O&M expenditures as a function of U10 for both type of
OC.

1

The four values are: wind speed for Oc#1, wind speed for Oc#2, wave height for
Oc#1 and wave height for Oc#2.

9
Rocha T.

Impact of Weather Windows in Offshore Wind Farm Operation and Maintenance expenses

Through the analyses of figures 18 and 19, the following
conclusions can be drawn:
 There are minimum values from which it is
impossible to access the OWF. Namely, 0.5 m
of HS and 3 m/s of U10 for OC#1 and 0.3 m of
HS and 2 m/s of U10 for OC#2;
 In economic terms, there are minimum values,
from which the O&M expenses will be greater
than 30% the LCOE1. This values are 0.65 m of
HS and 2.5 m/s of U10 for OC#1, and 0.4 m of HS
and 2 m/s of U10 for OC#2;
 Maximum values, from which an increase the
ceiling of accessibility by one unit will result in
a O&M expenses reduction smaller than
0.01 €/MWh. Namely, 6 m of HS and 12 m/s of
U10 for OC#1, and 5.5 m of H S and 6 m/s of U10
for OC#2;
 OC#1 has a greater influence on the variation of
the maintenance costs than OC#2. Justified by
the number of failures and duration of weather
windows associated to OC#1.
7.1. Optimization strategy
This chapter presents solutions that can lead to a
reduction of O&M costs. The values presented in the table
14 show the quantitative summary of each optimization
strategy [10][15][40].
Table 14.
Optimization strategies regarding the O&M tasks.
O&M
Main strategy
Notes
expenses Revenue
Strategy
change
[M€]
[€/MWh]
23.05
12.8
Case study
Did account
Improve
Increase max
for
vessel
HS from 0,9 m
11.98
13.6
improvement
system for
to 1,5 m
vessels.
OC#1
Analysis
didn’t
Eliminate the
account for
waiting time
investment
associated to
and
Use a CBM
corrective
14.83
13.4
operational
strategy
O&M.
costs. Didn’t
Detection rate:
account for
50%
costs due to
false alarms.
Analysis
Reduce
didn’t
mooring’s
Improve
account costs
engagement and
18.55
13
mooring
of the new
disengagement
systems
moorings.
time to 8 horas.

The implementation of the three strategies presented in
the table 14 will allow to obtain an availability of the OWF
of 97.7%, an O&M expenses of 8.62 €/MWh and a net
revenue of 13.8 M€. Using this last value, together with
some values of the table 13, results in a NPV of 14.2 M€ and
an IRR of 10.49%, which are good economical values
according [41].

8. Conclusion and recommendations of future work
The present article allows to obtain the following
conclusions inherent to the various analyses and studies
conducted:
 Floating platform technologies, as the
WindFloat, allow eliminating technical
constraints related to water depth;
 Availability decreases with increasing distance
from the shore, due to accessibility;
 It is possible to achieve availability levels of
98% for some OWF;
 WW characteristics represent a strong influence
into OWF accessibility, where an increase of
accessibility requirement will lead to a
significant decrease in accessibility;
 Corrective O&M induces a larger downtime and
expenditures than preventive O&M;
 Waiting time for a WW is the activity that
contributes most to corrective O&M downtime
and expenses;
 Case study presents a O&M expenses of
23.05 €/MWh, which can be reduced to
8.62 €/MWh applying optimization strategies;
 The investment in the present case study, have
an NPV of 4.78 M€ and an IRR of 9.19%, values
that can be increased to 14.2 M€ with an IRR of
10.49%.
Despite the fact that this article provides reliable techno-economic values, supported by several authors, obtaining
accurate values for O&M costs, requires the elaboration of
experimental and theoretical studies related to case study.
This studies should be done in order to analyse and obtain
values, with the least errors possible regarding the techno-economics specifications.
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