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Pilot verifies the application of autonomous surface and subsea platforms for offshore wind farms


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New autonomous platforms and workflows integrate seamlessly with resident ‘mothership’ operations at the Deutsche Bucht Offshore Wind Farm


Hamburg, Germany – Teams from wind farm owner Northland Power and marine technology company Subsea Europe Services have successfully concluded a pilot project to apply state-of-the-art Uncrewed Surface Vessels (USV) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) to marine survey and underwater inspection operations at the Deutsche Bucht Offshore Wind Farm, located in the German North Sea.


The July 2023 project was commissioned to verify performance and further develop the operational workflows of Subsea Europe Services’ Autonomous Surveyor USV for multibeam surveying and A.IKANBILIS Hovering AUV (HAUV) for subsea inspections such as scour and marine growth surveys, when deployed from a Service Operations Vessel (SOV) mothership already resident for Operations & Maintenance (O&M) at the wind farm.


The so-called ‘mothership concept’ was proven successful throughout the pilot, with seamless integration of the various teams and equipment working aboard the Albert Betz SOV resulting in a wider weather window for marine survey and underwater inspection operations, with launch and recovery up to Sea State 3 and data acquisition according to the specified requirements.


“Supported by the great teamwork of everybody on board, the additional personnel, equipment and workflows for managing and using the USV and AUV for marine surveying and underwater inspections blended in well with the overall operations of the SOV, demonstrating that the ‘mothership concept’ works in a live scenario,” said Jan Schmökel, Balance of Plant Engineer, Northland Power.


“Our goal is to utilise assets that are already in place within the offshore wind farm O&M framework in order to improve the availability of marine data and significantly reduce the cost of acquiring it,” adds Sören Themann, CEO, Subsea Europe Services GmbH. “Both Autonomous Surveyor and A.IKANBILIS performed well, acquiring actionable data within similar time frames as conventional vehicles including crewed survey vessels and work class ROVs, both of which are more costly to manage and operate.”


While Subsea Europe Services continues to fine tune and further automate workflows based on the experiences of the pilot project, both Autonomous Surveyor and A.IKANBILIS are available for offshore wind farm deployment right now. Full commercial readiness of a combined turnkey USV/HAUV solution for major projects and permanent mothership deployment is expected by Q1 2024.


Northland Power is 100% owner of Deutsche Bucht offshore wind farm, which is located 95 km west of Borkum in the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Deutsche Bucht has an operating capacity of 252 MW, meeting the annual energy needs of 300,000 people and reducing the annual CO2 emissions of Germany by 700,000 tons.


Media contacts:

Sören Themann

CEO, Subsea Europe Services GmbH

+49 170 7676666


Saul Trewern

Account Director, Oceanspace Communications

+44 (0)7312 105 130

About Northland Power

Northland Power is a global power producer dedicated to helping the clean energy transition by producing electricity from clean renewable resources. Founded in 1987, Northland has a long history of developing, building, owning and operating clean and green power infrastructure assets and is a global leader in offshore wind. In addition, Northland owns and manages a diversified generation mix including onshore renewables, efficient natural gas energy, as well as supplying energy through a regulated utility. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, with global offices in eight countries, Northland owns or has an economic interest in 3.0 GW (net 2.6 GW) of operating capacity. The Company also has a significant inventory of projects in construction and in various stages of development encompassing over 20 GW of potential capacity. Publicly traded since 1997, Northland's common shares, Series 1 and Series 2 preferred shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols NPI, NPI.PR.A and NPI.PR.B, respectively. www.northlandpower.com


About Subsea Europe Services

Established at the beginning of 2020 with the goal to make it possible for every organization to collect and evaluate marine data professionally, Subsea Europe Services provides easy access to precision sensors and equipment, complete survey systems, and innovative marine data acquisition solutions as turnkey deliveries with unified technology, platforms and support. The company’s unique ‘systems, services, solutions’ capability, enabled through partnership with leading technology innovators is as fast as it is flexible, ensuring the availability of the best tools for on-demand and planned marine surveys anywhere in Europe on a rental, sales or uniquely, a subscription basis. While serving a diverse customer base from offshore wind farms to governmental organizations, Subsea Europe Services continues to develop new solutions that simplify and automate the collection of marine data, including fully-integrated autonomous survey platforms. www.subsea-europe.com


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