Periodic repainting of the substructures of offshore wind turbines in German waters will no longer be required, a move that will save around €400M (US$464M).
The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency has announced it will no longer be a requirement to periodically renew the yellow full-surface paint covering the substructures of offshore wind turbines in German waters.
The agency considers the requirements for the initial coating to be sufficient to comply with international recommendations and standards. The markings are intended to increase maritime safety.
Offshore installations had until now been required to undergo inspections for damage to coatings and compliance with colorimetric requirements in accordance with the specifications of the Directorate-General for Waterways and Shipping. Non-compliance with these specifications would result in mandatory repainting of the substructures concerned.
A project funded by the Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Energie, ‘Implementation initiative of cost reduction potentials in offshore wind energy,’ led by the Offshore WindEnergie in co-operation with industrial partners investigated the cost of repainting, prepared risk analyses and compared the German requirement with those in other countries.
The benefits of repainting foundations were also investigated in a study undertaken by DNV GL that found that painting foundations with yellow paint had a clear signalling effect only at close range and in adverse weather conditions.
The Offshore WindEnergie Foundation said experience shows that commercial (non-industry offshore wind vessels) rarely enter an offshore windfarm under such conditions. This called into question the need for a signalling effect achieved by using yellow paint.
After the studies were completed, discussions were held with the relevant ministries, authorities, research institutions and industry stakeholders and associations.
Offshore WindEnergie Foundation managing director Andreas Wagner said, “We are pleased that the regulatory agencies have endorsed our findings and recommendations. This revision of the regulation will help to reduce costs in the offshore wind energy sector.”
Mr Wagner said the project demonstrated that not only would periodic repainting generate additional costs for asset owners, but the safety benefits of doing so were questionable.