The new EU FP7 project “LEANWIND” (Logistic Efficiencies And Naval architecture for Wind Installations with Novel Developments) aims to apply lean principles to the project life cycle of offshore wind farms. The main objective of LEANWIND is to reduce costs throughout the life cycle and supply chain of offshore wind farms through the application of lean principles and the development of cutting-edge tools and technologies. The offshore wind energy industry in near-shore and shallow locations has yet to become economically competitive with traditional forms of energy as new sites are planned at greater distances from shore or in deeper waters, giving rise to new challenges.
The offshore wind industry has not yet applied lean principles to the logistics operations of wind farms at all stages of their life cycle as proposed by the LEANWIND project. Lean principles were originally developed by Toyota to optimise processes in manufacturing industries. These principles of optimisation and efficiency have subsequently been adopted by many other industries to eliminate wasteful steps and streamline processes. This new lean paradigm will be applied to each of the critical stages of the project: logistics processes, land-based transport links, temporary storage and port facilities, vessels, lifting machinery, safety and security, and operation and maintenance.
The LEANWIND approach will ensure that unnecessarily complex or wasteful stages of the development process are eliminated, that the transition between necessary stages is streamlined, that quality is improved and thus time and costs are optimised to enable industry to reduce the gap between current expenditure and the economic aspirations of industry. Properly applied, lean management will improve quality, reliability and health and safety standards throughout the project supply chain and throughout the life cycle of the wind farm.