At the end of their operational life, offshore wind farms need to be decommissioned. This is typically a condition on their licence to operate. Decommissioning is, however, a complex process requiring specialist deconstruction techniques and close adherance to environmental protection and waste disposal procedures.
Our experience with decommissioning has furthermore taught us that offshore wind projects are often more profitable as a whole when their strategy includes the full lifecycle of the offshore turbines. Recognising the complexity and importance of decommissioning, NIRAS has developed processes and tools to assist operators faced with this challenge.
Readying wind farms for decommissioning starts with their design. Considering decommissioning methods and including provision for these in the design of key wind farm structures (including turbine foundations and transition pieces, for example) can significantly aid the works required for their safe removal at the end of their operational life.
Extensive technical knowledge on decommissioning
We advise on the development of decommissioning plans and the technical studies on which these rely. Our experts analyse and advise on appropriate methods and their associated costs. It is important to understand the regulatory framework in which decommissioning and subsequent waste disposal will take place and we can facilitate discussions with regulators and authorities to define environmental requirements and objectives as well as other constraints on deconstruction activities. We can advise on and assist in the procurement of specialist contractors to undertake necessary works that comply with these requirements.
Our in-house developed tool: ODIN-Wind
We have developed the Offshore Decommissioning of Installations NIRAS (ODIN)-Wind tool which provides a structured process for analysing, planning and managing decommissioning projects. Through the ODIN-Wind tool, stakeholders may reduce both risk, cost and time spent on decommissioning, while minimising impact on the environment through optimal waste management and reuse of components within remaining lifetime. The tool also enables:
- Mapping hazardous materials
- Feasibility studies
- Health and safety
- Fulfilling legal requirements
- Environmental impact assessment (EIA)
- Tender management
Developing sustainable offshore wind solutions