A vessel remotely operated from shore performed survey work for a wind farm in the sea off Suffolk, UK, reportedly marking a first for the offshore wind sector.
The XO-450 unmanned surface vessel (USV), owned and operated by XOCEAN, carried out seabed surveys on seven of the turbines at the 140-turbine Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm, located 23 kilometers off the UK coast.
The USV is around 4.5 meters long and weighs about 750 kilograms, and can be monitored and controlled 24/7 via a satellite connection by a team at an onshore control center.
Throughout the survey, the data collected was monitored from shore in real-time by experts located in the UK, to validate data collection before the vessel departed the work locations. This demonstrates the highly flexible and collaborative nature of this new technology, enabling industry experts to have direct access to real time data, from any location, XOCEAN said.
The 500MW Greater Gabbard wind farm, a joint venture between SSE Renewables and innogy, has been in operation since 2012.
Jeremy Williamson, SSE Renewables Head of Operations, said, "We are constantly looking for innovative ways in which we can operate our fleet of renewables assets.
"XOCEAN's vessel will allow us to carry out our work in a more efficient, and most importantly for SSE Renewables and our partners innogy, in the safest way possible. We're really interested to see how this sort of work can help improve our industry and look forward to working with XOCEAN in future."
James Ives, CEO of XOCEAN said, "Our USV platform has demonstrated itself to be a safe, reliable and low carbon solution for the collection of ocean data. We are delighted to be working with SSE and innogy on this ground-breaking project."