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OSW Operations & Maintenance

in Offshore Wind

Offshore Wind Operations and Maintenance


with Alan Lowdon

Calendar Next available session starts Aug 8, 2023 at 8 am
1 additional session on Dec 5, 2023

The U.S. Department of Energy forecasts the industry will employ 43,000 people along the East Coast by 2030, and as a result, will create thousands of jobs in southeastern Massachusetts, providing area residents career opportunities in the emerging 21st-century global economy. The U.S. offshore wind industry is emerging in the North Atlantic near the Massachusetts coastline and Bristol Community College is leading the way in workforce development.   

Course Description:

This 2 day, 4-hour (8 am - 10 am) Offshore Wind Operations and Maintenance class will provide an offshore wind-specific introduction to those trained in managing large infrastructure assets in other sectors and, those looking to orient their careers to this aspect of the offshore wind industry. Given the retirement of traditional forms of power generation technology in the Commonwealth, this is particularly apt. The reorientation of core, asset management skills into offshore wind represents a huge opportunity for both the individuals and the sector, as does attracting new talent into the O&M space.  

The course will draw upon Bristol Community College’s experience delivering its established, credit program in offshore wind operation and maintenance. In addition, the course will draw upon the instructor’s experience as an experienced asset management practitioner in the wind sector. The course will explore the key components of an offshore wind farm – surface and sub-sea - that require attention over the asset’s life, highlighting typical degradation mechanisms at play. This ties in nicely with the emergence of a plethora of technologies to improve the accuracy of asset inspections.  

The course will follow the established asset management model of ‘managing the bathtub curve’ – running the asset in, maintaining it in as near an optimal state of performance for as long as possible, then managing the inevitable up-turn in costs associated with performance degradation ahead of decommissioning. These concepts will be familiar with asset/maintenance managers in other sectors and will be an attractive model for those new to the sector to grasp. The content will frame these concepts in an offshore wind context and highlight some of the key O&M techniques, practices and challenges that offshore wind faces. The contribution of O&M to the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) will also be touched upon to underscore the importance of its efficient management.  

One of the key advances in offshore wind operations and maintenance in recent times has been the arrival of embedded digital sophistication to make the wind turbine generator system ‘smart’. This has increased the degree of insight that asset owners and operators have of the performance of their equipment. In turn, this allows optimum interventions to be made of a maintenance variety. It also allows the assets to be operated in a particular manner, with lifecycle performance in mind. The course will provide a broad overview of the impact of digital sophistication on the O&M process and how this can continue to be positively impacted by other safety-critical sectors.  

One aspect that the course will explore in slightly greater depth is the challenge posed by the ‘in-warranty’ versus ‘out-of-warranty’ periods of an asset’s life and how this impacts the O&M processes at play. For new entrants into the offshore wind sector, this level of insight is extremely important to have as soon as is practicable.   

Finally, some coverage will be given to the importance of ‘human factors’ in the efficient delivery of the offshore wind O&M process. In particular, the interplay between sea-borne logistics, ocean states and the ability of offshore wind technicians to perform their duties upon arrival at an offshore wind farm will be discussed.  

About the Instructor:

Dr Alan Lowdon, Director of Strategic Development for the National Offshore Wind Institute (NOWI) over 30 years’ experience as a practitioner within the international energy and utilities sectors, having held senior positions with international corporations, Rolls Royce Industrial Power, British Gas, Suez, Shell, Mott MacDonald and Jacobs. At Mott MacDonald, Alan was involved in wind resource analyses for the Cape Wind and Fishermen’s Energy offshore wind projects. He has also acted as an advisor to Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation’s offshore wind farm in Cleveland, OH.  

Read full bio: Dr Alan Lowdon Bio 2021

Link to Bristol National Offshore Wind Institute website:


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