It was in 2017 that the Gode Wind 2 offshore wind farm in the southern part of Germany’s North Sea was commissioned, with a total area of approx. 57 km² and an output of 252 MW. Gode Wind 2 alone supplies around 330,000 German households every year with renewable electricity. The Gode Wind 2 wind farm supplies part of this.
Especially on offshore platforms the subject of safety is always given maximum priority. For Gode Wind 2 the two shunt reactors present must be optimally protected, in order that access for possible servicing and maintenance tasks can be performed in maximum safety at any time.
This is why an external risk analysis was performed during the first phase of the project. Based on this, the people responsible for the wind farm sought the most suitable fall protection system for the two transformers. This is where INNOTECH came in.
But in fact the platform itself also had to be redesigned in terms of safety, because helicopter transfers take place continuously. And that in the middle of the North Sea; 32.5 km north of Norderney island and at a distance of 34 km from Juist island – the mainland is 45 kilometres away.
In this blog post, discover the challenges which had to be overcome in terms of fall protection, and how they were solved.
The challenges at a glance
In itself, the location of the wind farm represented a major challenge. However, in terms of fall protection systems, the focus was on shunt reactors 1 and 2. To ensure safe ascent and descent on these shunts, appropriate fall protection had to be provided.
In addition, it was essential not to damage the surfaces of the two transformers (shunts 1 and 2) through the installation of the safety solution. Not only that, but protecting the transit from the vertical to the horizontal, plus the subsequent access to the horizontal working area, was also a challenge.
It was possible to fulfil all these requirements using the TAURUS ALLROUND rail system on the one hand, and a customised solution on the other. The TAURUS ALLROUND was selected as the safety solution for the vertical ascent and descent and for the protected transit to the horizontal.
To protect the two shunts after the vertical ascent, i.e. in the horizontal plane, a customised solution using the TAURUS rail system was developed. This was installed using clamped attachment. We now describe the solutions in greater detail.
The solution in detail
Protecting an offshore wind farm requires the most modern, certified safety systems which can be optimally adapted to the actual situation. In the case of Gode Wind 2, the ascent on the one hand, and the maintenance routes along the shunts on the other hand had to be protected appropriately.
As noted above, this is where the TAURUS ALLROUND rail system was deployed to protect the ascent. The ALLROUND system provides continuous protection against falling during the vertical ascent and descent, and also for the transit to the horizontal.
This is possible due to the flexible aluminium rail, which can be optimally adapted in situ to the circumstances, using the TAURUS-BEND-10. Here, re-attachment becomes completely unnecessary, resulting in maximum safety for the people working on the shunt.
In addition, the TAURUS-GLEIT-A31 slider, matched to the rail system, allows free-running movement along the system. Personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate to the application ensures maximum comfort under these circumstances.
Furthermore, in addition to the transformers, the maintenance area in the horizontal plane also had to be equipped with a professional fall protection system. Because of the specific circumstances of Gode Wind 2, a customised solution was the only option.
For this, the TAURUS rail system was modified so that it could be clamped to the transformers. This prevented any damage to the transformers.
The Gode Wind 2 wind farm is a good demonstration that in practice new challenges continuously arise during the planning and installation of a professional, certified fall protection system for offshore wind farms.
For this, not only are complete professionals required who can flexibly develop optimum alternatives. In addition, the corresponding customised solutions have be created, and they must be appropriately compliant in terms of standards and the law.
This is the only way to protect servicing personnel in the best possible way. In effect, INNOTECH's safety solutions can master all the daily challenges facing wind farm operators – especially when it’s a matter of safety.
If you’re facing similar challenges to the operators of Gode Wind 2 and you’re looking for profession fall protection for your wind farms, then you should contact us immediately. Our experts will be pleased to help and advise.