This paper shows the potentials and risks of energy production using offshore wind turbines (OWTs). It gives examples of executed projects and presents the benefit of independent certification within project realization. The certification process is described in detail.
The paper also presents results from research projects concerning OWTs and the implementation of these results in design rules and guidelines for the construction of offshore wind farms.
Due to the world's rising energy consumption and the limited existence of fossil energy sources, attention has been drawn on the exploitation of renewable energy. Among the various fields of renewable energy sources, the wind energy sector has gained a significant growth within the last two decades. This development was possible because of a fast progression of the wind turbine technology and has been encouraged by financial incentive in some countries.
After having conquered the landscapes onshore, the wind industry is now looking at the high potential of wind energy beyond the coastline. Now that a small number of offshore wind farms have been erected and first experience has been gained, one sees that a lot of additional tasks have to be solved, compared to onshore wind turbines as well as conventional offshore constructions.
For the construction and operation of an offshore wind farm, requirements are defined by investors, insurance companies, authorities and public interests concerning the reliability and safety of the machinery units and support structures.
The confirmation of these requirements can be given by independent third-party investigations by certification bodies like the "Germanischer Lloyd WindEnergie GmbH" (GL Wind) who have worked in the field of wind energy certification from the very beginning and have developed their own guidelines for the design and construction of wind turbines and wind farms onshore and offshore which are accepted worldwide.