“Avoidance is the key to effective risk mitigation,’’ says Kevin Kneebone, the Managing Director of BACTEC International, company with over 10 years of experience in the offshore wind sector. “The cost to remove a WW2 mine during construction can reach up to £ 1 million which does not include the time delays and human life risks,” Kneebone adds.
To make sure all major costs and risks are accurately calculated at the pre-construction phase Project Directors and Sub-contractors need to have complete data of the site conditions of the future wind project at a very initial stage. A standard seabed survey (for a 1000 hectares wind farm with about 30 wind turbines) takes between 20-30 days or 20-35 hectares per day and is a must if risks are to be reduced to the very minimum.
The consequences of not performing the seabed assessment have already been evaluated on numerous occasions such as last year (2011) when during the construction of the Greater Gabbard Wind Farm (33km off Harwich in eastern England) a 680kg WW2 mine was detected and removed in a controlled explosion. WW2 explosives residuals represent real risk for wind farms in the Nord and the Baltic Sea and can compromise the entire projects if not properly handled.
Mr Kneebone is looking forward to Wind Energy Updates’ Offshore Wind Risk Summit this June when he will address the audience with detailed analysis of site selection best practices and other established risk mitigation advices. With experience with over 1000 erected wind turbines and solid participation in the next round French offshore wind farms, BACTEC are keen to share their knowledge with the industry elite at the first event entirely dedicated to risk assessment and mitigation matters in the field of offshore wind power.