Drones and helicopters for Round III windfarms

According to industry body Renewable UK, the offshore wind industry is gearing up for growing use of helicopters and drones.

At a recent event the wind industry highlighted the potential for growth in the use of aviation services, from helicopters which transfer crews to and from offshore wind farms to the use of drones for maintaining turbine blades. As windfarms increase in size and are located further out to sea, it is increasingly cost-effective to use helicopters and drone technologies to carry out vital inspection and maintenance operations.

RenewableUK’s latest Project Intelligence report shows that over 50% of the offshore turbines currently consented or in planning across Europe are over 250 metres tall, and these are all located within UK waters. The vast majority of those projects will use turbines over 280m in height. The tallest turbines currently generating power in Europe are 230m.

The use of helicopters in addition to boats for crew transfer becomes a more attractive proposition for projects further out at sea.

Alongside the new Project Intelligence data, RenewableUK is launching a second issue of its Offshore Renewables Aviation Guidance and new draft guidance on the use of drones in the renewable energy industry.

By Jake Frith

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