The Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA), a collaborative RD&D programme funded by nine offshore wind developers and the Scottish Government, has launched a competition targeted at finding new ways to inspect offshore wind substructures and reduce the cost of offshore wind. The competition is open to innovators with inspection technologies that can provide information and data on grout integrity and welds for both monopiles and jackets.

Winners of the competition will get the chance to test their technologies on installed foundations at fully operational  wind farms in Europe. Current estimates show that around 35-40 per cent of the monopile fleet, majority of the pre-2012 structures, have potentially been affected by issues relating to grouted joints, for example corrosion caused by harsh marine environment. Additionally many of the structures built post-2012 will require performance monitoring. New designs such as jackets, which are constructed using welded nodes are also coming online and these will present new inspection challenges for the industry. At present, the methods to inspect grouted connections and welds are very limited and do not provide sufficient resolution of data for offshore wind developers. Industry standards require that a sample of offshore wind subsea structures within each farm (typically 5-15 per cent) are subjected to periodic inspection. The aim of the competition is to help these new technologies access the large potential market and become part of the normal subsea inspection strategy for offshore wind developers.