While the offshore climate in the North Sea bears a great potential for the exploitation of reliable and powerful wind energy it poses a challenge for the constructors of offshore wind farms. Large heavy lift jack-up vessels (HLJV) are employed to transport the components of the wind energy converters to the offshore location. After a preloading and jacking procedure, subsea lifts of tripod foundations weighing up to 950tons as well as tower and nacelle installations at large heights need to be undertaken. As typical offshore wind farms consist of 80 or more separate wind turbines the installation works are conducted in a serial manner — often through the winter season. Thus, many critical offshore operations are conducted consecutively on the basis of daily or weekly weather reports. These operations cannot rely on optimal weather conditions therefore planning and engineering has to cover appropriate wind and wave conditions taking into account contingencies for uncertainties in the reliability of weather windows as well as in the soil conditions.

This paper shows how the weather criteria derived from numerical seakeeping and structural simulations are taken into a project simulation model covering 90 separate serial installations. Based on hindcast re-analyses installation simulations are conducted in multi-seasonal weather scenarios. This enables the quantification of the suitability of a particular marine spread and its associated installation processes in combination. The risk profile of weather related delays are derived.

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