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Surveillance of Wind Farms
Offshore wind energy is one of the promising applications of wind power. The primary aspect of the surveillance of the offshore wind farms is prevention of collision between wind farm and larger vessels. This application requires full coverage of the area with radar, AIS and VHF. Using of remote controlled CCTV cameras is also quite useful to evaluate conditions on the remote site and monitor the operation offshore.

In addition to the surveillance tasks the collected information is also used for logistic purposes, planning purposes and for incident debriefing.

Typical Wind Farm Surveillance objectives
These objectives can be categorised into a set of basic requirements like the following and are solved by the VisSim solutions:

  • Collection and recording of information about all vessels in the area
  • Provision of warnings when vessels are in potential collision course with the wind farm
  • Maintaining radio communication with all vessels and helicopters
  • Visual monitoring of situation at site (e.g. hoisting people from helicopters, weather conditions, etc)
  • Vessel Work Coordination during the wind farm construction stage
  • Monitoring distribution of people on the wind turbines within the park
  • Storage of vessels’ information for synchronous replay and statistical analysis

Offshore Wind Farm Solutions
The system configuration may differ for different customers.


Sensor Sites
Certain equipment has to be installed on the remote site. It is typical to install all the necessary equipment on the offshore transformer platform where power and communication to onshore is present. The processing equipment is typically installed in the standard 19” rack and connected to the sensors mounted outdoors.

Control Centre
The Control Centre is located onshore where the main process control is also performed. The communication for most of the modern wind farms include fiber optics and can very well be used for the purposes of transferring the data necessary fro the surveillance. Most of the processing is done offshore and the result is sent to the displays. The scale of the control centre varies from one monitoring PC to a number of PCs spread around the local area network The operator has full control of situation by having the overview of all the vessels in area, pictures from remotely controlled CCTV camera and voice communication via remote VHF base station.

Integration with existing alarm systems
All the systems built for unmanned offshore operation are built using components with very high availability. Monitoring of the system performance and preventive maintenance are key element for trouble free operation of any system. It is very important to exchange information with other systems used for remote monitoring of the offshore wind farms. All VisSim systems can be integrated to external SCADA systems suing SNMP or other monitoring protocols.

Vessel Work Coordination
One of the important areas of the wind farm surveillance is a construction phase when the park is being built. At this stage the power, connection onshore and other useful elements of the surveillance are not yet present but the work offshore still requires coordination and remote monitoring. Very often a temporary installation is being provided using land based or other offshore constructions to monitor the activity offshore. VisSim has developed special graphical tools for editing the wind turbine symbols, changing their status to reflect the construction progress and entering or importing as laid cable positions.

Offshore Wind Farm Surveillance
VTMS3000 - Vessel Traffic Management System VisSim’s Offshore Wind Farm Surveillance is based on VisSim VTMS3000. The heart of the system is the same, but it is adapted to special offshore operational requirement

Radars
Radars are used to monitor the entire area of interest around the wind farms. Wind turbines are good radar echoes and thus tracking in the conditions of the wind farms is complicated and challenging task. VisSim has long experience in tracking inside and around wind farms and has developed special filters to reduce effects of the wind turbines to the overall system performance. VisSim can also advice on the configuration necessary based and share our experience in wind farm surveillance.

AIS
AIS is used to identify radar targets. This eases the surveillance operations as the VTS operator does not have to enter names manually. In the standard surveillance applications using standard AIS receiver or a read only connection to the existing AIS chain is recommended. When additional features are requires, like use of Virtual AIS Aids To Navigation to mark the wind farm to make its location known to the other vessels it is required to use the base station. In these cases consulting with local authorities may be required in order to obey to the local rules.

VHF
VHF is an essential tool for communication with vessels and helicopters. The base base stations are installed offshore and the voice and commands are transferred back to the operator sitting onshore via the network. Operator talks to the vessels as he would sit on the paltform. Several VHF stations can be combined in order to provide e.g. gapless coverage from the near by port to the offshore wind farm. Combination of VHF/FM base stations (talking to vessels) and VHF/AM base stations (talking to helicopters) is possible

CCTV
A long range CCTV camera helps in identifying targets, monitoring different service operations like hoisting people from the helicopter to the wind turbine, etc. The identification helps to distinguish the floating debries and from the smaller crafts without AIS. The camera can be linked to one of the radar targets and zoom into the area to show what exactly is it.

People Tracking System
A People Tracking system was especially developed for the offshore wind farms. The system is using AIS installed on the boat to transmit the information about which people are leaving the boat in the particular location corresponding to the location of one of the wind turbines. This information is visualized in the operators screen where it is also linked to the People Tracking Database containing various specific information.

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