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Forecoast Marine helps ports and offshore wind industry with future climate planning

Ships in a port

Ports are complex, multifaceted environments. Being situated in the coastal zone at sea-level, they are particularly vulnerable to climate change e.g. the impacts of rising sea levels, storm intensity and frequency, extremes of precipitation and temperature etc on vessel operations, infrastructure requirements etc. It is becoming vital that ports understand their exposure to climate change and that mitigation strategies are embedded in future operational and development planning.

Offshore, climate change could reduce or increase the energy yield of wind farms and therefore the revenue produced, which in turn may affect the viability of offshore wind energy as a renewable source of electricity. Furthermore, changes in metocean conditions could influence the ways in which offshore wind farms are maintained.

Our innovative metocean and logistics risk management system, ForeCoast® Marine, is ideal for assisting ports and offshore operators to identify where the exposure lies, visualise likely impacts and to optimise adaptation strategies.

Since 2017, we have been engaged in two contracts awarded by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), developing ForeCoast® Marine to investigate the impacts of climate change on operations at two busy UK ports. Click here to listen to project manager Martin Williams discussing the motive behind the projects.

Using real operational information provided by the ports with past and future climate model output, we innovatively configured ForeCoast® Marine to simulate actual key operations, their inter-dependencies and associated metocean constraints. For example, underpinned by the two sets of climate data the model simulated vessel/tug/pilot interactions, vessel movements in restricted waterways, locking operations and weather-related downtime in vessel and cargo operations. Comparing the outputs allowed us to visualise how climate change may impact these operations in the future. Furthermore, to demonstrate how the model can also be used to optimise infrastructure development plans, we investigated the impact on port operations of an increase in vessel traffic with and without increasing cargo berth capacity. Click here to read more about the ports work.

To understand the potential extent of the impact of climate change, an offshore wind farm operations and maintenance (O&M) model was created based on JBA’s existing ForeCoast® Marine O&M module. The model represented the lifecycle of a North Sea offshore wind farm, including power and revenue stream from the turbines, as well as modelling turbine failure modes, which require technicians and vessels to carry out repairs. Using past and future climate projections we were able to simulate O&M sequences at a number of locations in the North Sea and demonstrate how climate change may impact future offshore O&M. Click here for a case study on the offshore O&M work, which concluded

“…Within the boundaries imposed by the available data, our results suggest that offshore wind energy can continue to be developed as a means of meeting renewable energy targets and hence reducing carbon dioxide emissions. However, it could also be concluded that mitigation strategies should be developed in the future so that offshore wind farms can continue to remain a viable source of renewable energy....” (Kun Yan, Ocean Forecasting Specialist at Deltares)

For more information on these important projects, please contact Martin Williams.

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