Accidents during China’s offshore wind construction sprint

Accidents during China’s offshore wind construction sprint

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On September 13, the crane of an offshore wind power installation vessel broke during the monopile installation of CGN Group’s Shanwei (Guangdong Province) Houhu 500MW Offshore Wind Project, resulting in serious damage of equipment but without casualties.

In July earlier this year, one of China’s jack-up installation vessels, “Zhenjiang”, experienced a flooding incident during the construction of the Jiangsu Rudong 400MW Offshore Wind Project which belongs to China Huaneng Group. The project is located in Nantong Jiangsu, about 40km from the coast. The vessel was delivered by CSSC WMMP 3 months before the incident. As per staff’s feedback, the ship body’s could not be raised timely due to failure of the leg lifting and watertight gate functions of the vessel, leading to sea water intrusion.

The race for project connection before YE 2021, combined with a learning curve for Health & Safety (H&S) practices can result in an increased risk of accidents in the Chinese offshore wind industry. If looking at both onshore and offshore wind, more than 15 accidents resulting in casualty and/or property damage, let alone construction delay, have occurred so far this year. 2020-2021 is a critical period for wind power developers to accelerate the installation of wind turbines and grid connection. With project progress in mind, staff’s health and safety, as well as quality assurance could be compromised, which in turn could lead to serious accidents and thus postpone project delivery. Developers should prioritize the H&S principle even during the final sprint towards grid connection deadline and should never overlook safety education and training. Finally, a well-thought insurance policy could also be helpful to absorb partial risks. (BJX)