Offshore wind energy plays an important role to supply a rising share of energy from renewable sources. However, during the planning and execution of offshore operations, harsh weather conditions and limited resource availabilities make the installation of offshore wind farms a challenging task. Due to the current practice of decentralized information acquisition by the supply chain partners, we investigate the impact of sharing information on the installation process of offshore wind farms by means of simulation model. Therefore relevant information items will be identified that have to be shared in order to improve the installation process.
Due to high wind resource availability at sea and high technological maturity of wind energy, offshore wind energy is ascribed high potential on the way to a renewable and sustainable generation of energy. However, during the installation process of an offshore wind farm, the installation planning has to deal with harsh weather conditions and limited resource availability. Restrictions on installation processes based on hardly predictable weather conditions are considered the main source of uncertainty which have a major influence on the performance of the supply chain. This makes the installation of offshore wind farms a complex planning problem. Generally, the uncertainty in the offshore wind energy supply chain is handled by acquiring the necessary information in a decentralized way, so that each affected supply chain partner, e.g. installation vessel operator, port operator and component manufacturer, individually deals with occurring problems. Information is usually only shared on request between supply chain partners. Consequently, the impact of uncertainties could be reduced by standardizing information flows over the entire supply chain and thereby providing a common basis for decision-making. Therefore, this contribution deals with various information sharing scenarios to investigate the applicability of information sharing to cope with the challenges of offshore wind energy installation processes. Information sharing plays an important role to guarantee and improve the performance of the supply chain processes (Lau, Huang and Mak, 2004). The integration and consideration of information sharing can help to reduce the impacts of the uncertainties in different levels of the supply chain. Affected processes and supply chain segments can be detected by applying information sharing approaches and therefore preventive measures can be taken to reduce the impact of uncertainties on the supply chain. In this paper, we investigate the impact of different information sharing scenarios during the installation process of offshore wind farms by means of a discrete event simulation model. To this end a study will be performed to determine the relevant information items that have to be shared to improve the installation process. In addition, different performance analysis will be conducted by applying according performance measures.