Semco Maritime has been awarded the contract for the control and platform protection of the world’s first offshore utility platform for wind farms. The platform is located 20 km off the Danish west coast at Horns Rev near Esbjerg.
Horns Rev is a reef and although the water debt is only 6 m, it is located in the harsher part of the North Sea with high winds, extreme tidal flow, and rapid current. The wind farm will produce 160 MW from 80 windmills, and currently it is the largest offshore wind farm in the world. However, 3 similar offshore wind farms are planned in Denmark and even larger installations are under consideration in Germany.
The platform on Horns Rev is not only unmanned, but unlike oil and gas satellite platforms, it is monitored and remote controlled directly from two onshore control centres. The fact that the wind farm has no neighbouring platforms and is located on a reef with very difficult access has made heavy demands for safety, uninterrupted production, and remote serviceability.
The system deliveries include the low voltage distribution panels and systems, redundant UPS, control and monitoring facilities for all on board production and safety systems, CCTV, fire detection, and automatic fire fighting, navigation aid and weather monitoring. All systems are linked together and high emphasis have been made in selecting products of high quality and with state of the art communication capabilities like TCP/IP, OPC, Web networking, etc. The communication to the onshore control centres are established through optical fibres backed up by radio links.
Semco Maritime has undertaken the responsibility for the detailed design, procurement, installation supervision at the yard, and the offshore commissioning. The project was awarded in July 2001 and is scheduled to start operation mid next year.