every health and safety issue associated with vessel transfers and is directed at UK health and safety law, the standard offers a common approach for providers of basic training and competency development. RenewableUK has also developed a document for guiding developers in the offshore renewable energy industry through the health and safety concerns related to selecting and managing commonly used vessels (RenewableUK 2012b).

Evolving Access Technology

Sea state and weather conditions are determining factors for transit and transfers at sea. With an increasing number of offshore turbines planned farther out at sea, industry is attempting to extend the weather window for serving turbines. For European operations, mainly in the North Sea, commonly used technology allows safe transfers with significant wave heights up to 1.5 meters, for an average window of 210 days per year. If safe, efficient, and cost-effective transfers could occur in significant wave heights up to 3.0 meters, the serviceable weather window could increase to 310 days per year.4 Industry is therefore using newer technology, such as hydraulically managed equipment, to counter the effects of increased wave height and compensate for wave motion. Two examples of this type of technology shown to the committee include the Ampelmann system and the MaXccess system.5 Other organizations are also encouraging new technology in providing solutions for safer turbine access and reduced costs.

The Carbon Trust is an independent organization working with the private and public sectors to research and promote energy-saving technologies to reduce costs. Its offshore wind accelerator (OWA) research and development program has focused on five areas with the greatest potential for reducing the total cost of constructing, operating, and


4   B. Gellatly, presentation at the Offshore Energy Knowledge Exchange Workshop, Washington, D.C., April 11, 2012. http://www.wind.energy.gov/pdfs/offshore_energy_knowledge_exchange_workshop_report.pdf.

5   More information on these systems is available at http://www.ampelmann.nl/ and http://www.osbitpower.com/maxccess.html.

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