Arup to assess lifespan of offshore wind foundations at London Array

London Array windfarm, off the Kent coast. Image from London Array Limited.

Arup is deploying an innovative digital service to monitor the remaining lifespan of offshore wind foundations at the London Array wind farm off the coast of Kent, UK.

Arup’s Life Extension and Asset Management Platform (LEAP) combines structural health monitoring and survey data to provide ongoing insight into the condition of foundations over their entire lifetime. The cloud-based service also integrates directly into clients’ asset management systems, providing owner-operators and asset managers with the right information at the right time, and a view of the integrity of their whole fleet.

LEAP’s use of in-service data, rather than conservative assumptions made at design stage, has enabled windfarm life extensions to be justified. The insights it provides can be used to assess capacity to accommodate turbine control system upgrades and enable a more risk-based inspection and maintenance approach. It includes an innovative monitoring system that provides the level of accuracy necessary to justify life extension whilst monitoring a subset of foundations with instrumentation above the waterline only, and with significantly improved reliability relative to traditional techniques.

Life extension has an estimated value of £15m-£22.5m/year for a 500MW wind farm and is critical to supporting continued growth of the UK offshore wind sector and achieving net-zero by 2050.

George Walker, offshore wind asset management lead at Arup, said: “Foundations are the only major windfarm component that can’t be replaced, and maintaining their condition is essential to prolonging a windfarm’s operational life. LEAP is deployed as an integrated, cloud-based application that clients can use directly in-house, empowering them to gain greater insight into foundation condition and move to risk-based inspection and maintenance. We look forward to working with London Array to bring the benefits of this platform to its wind farm.” 

Bob Smith, general manager at London Array Limited, said: “Arup has provided asset management support to London Array for several years and we are looking forward to being able to access foundation condition insight directly from their LEAP platform.”

Arup will work with London Array Ltd. to deploy the system at the 630MW windfarm in the Outer Thames Estuary over the next few months.

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