London Array Offshore Wind Farm | ORE Catapult

Pioneering SPARTA system for offshore wind farms goes live

Published 1 July 2015

All 10 of the UK’s offshore wind farm owner/operators have signed an agreement committing to SPARTA (System Performance, Availability and Reliability Trend Analysis), a collaborative project with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and The Crown Estate.

Following a successful year-long pilot phase, the owner/operators have recognised the significant benefits that SPARTA can deliver, including increasing investor confidence and reducing costs.

With currently over half of the total installed capacity of operational UK offshore wind farms inputting data into the system, the SPARTA project provides, for the first time, anonymously shared data on a wide range of operational issues such as system downtime, repair interventions, weather conditions and crew transfers.

This insight allows owner/operators to benchmark their own performance, enabling them to focus on specific areas for improvement and identify measures to boost availability, reliability and the performance of turbines.

It is estimated that a 1% industry wide improvement in turbine availability arising as a consequence of SPARTA could meet the energy requirements of an additional 31,000 homes[1].

ORE Catapult’s Innovation Engineering and Programmes Director Chris Hill commented:

“The pilot phase of the project has been extremely successful, and the feedback from owner/operators is that the platform is already helping them to make more informed decisions about the way they operate and manage their offshore installations.

“The fact that all of the owner/operators have recognised the benefits of participating in SPARTA, and have committed to its further development, is great news for the sector as it strives for further reductions in risk and cost.

“ORE Catapult will continue to support the programme, both in our role as project sponsor and also as the project manager tasked with operating, maintaining and further developing the database system.”

Huub den Rooijen at The Crown Estate welcomed the news saying:

“Collaborative systems like SPARTA have been used for years in the offshore oil and gas industry to optimise asset performance, and SPARTA is a great example of how the offshore wind industry is maturing by learning from best practice elsewhere.

“As manager of the UK seabed, The Crown Estate plays an active role in supporting the sector to lead the way in sharing data and knowledge to help bring down costs and underpin offshore wind’s material contribution to a low carbon energy mix over the long term.”

Adam Bruce, Chairman of the Offshore Wind Programme Board, said:

“With the largest base of operating turbines in the world, the UK offshore wind sector has an unrivalled knowledge base to draw on. SPARTA demonstrates how the industry is leading the way in innovative solutions to cost reduction, and is committed to driving down costs further in the coming years, ensuring that offshore wind can play a central role in the UK’s future energy mix.”


Notes to editors

  • SPARTA (System Performance, Availability and Reliability Trend Analysis) is a major collaborative project led by offshore wind farm owner/operators , supported and managed by ORE Catapult and The Crown Estate.
  • The SPARTA database enables wind farm operators to anonymously submit performance data relating to their wind farm and provides owner/operators with regular benchmarking reports. This data is not openly available to the wider public, but is aimed at enhancing the performance of the industry.
  • The ten offshore wind owner/operators who have signed up to SPARTA, and represent the whole of the UK’s installed capacity, are: Centrica Renewable Energy, DONG Energy, EDF Energy Renewables, E.ON Renewables, RWE Innogy, ScottishPower Renewables, SSE, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall.

[1] This figure is calculated against a wind-generated volume of 13.4TWh