Supporting offshore wind industry growth with accurate data collection


As part of our #RUKPortsVessels21 webinar series, we look at vessel support for offshore wind operations. Charlotte Beechey – Survey Team Manager from XOCEAN – joins a panel of experts to offer insight into modern USVs for the safe and reliable collection of ocean data. We interviewed James Ives – CEO – about the importance of data collection and how XOCEAN delivers the best results:


Why is reliable and accurate ocean data collection so important to the industry and for the growth of sustainable energy/offshore wind?

The offshore wind industry is set to grow between 8 and 10 times over the next decade – we see accurate and high-resolution data as a cornerstone of this growth. An offshore wind farm requires data throughout its 30-year lifespan, from detailed surveys during the development and construction phases through to routine integrity inspections during 25 years of operation and final surveys during decommissioning. Traditionally, this data has been acquired using conventional survey ships, with a crew on board. However, we are seeing strong demand from customers for USVs to perform the same task, delivering a safer, low carbon and lower cost solution. To date, XOCEAN has delivered over 100 projects, operated in 14 countries and supplied data to 16 different offshore wind farms for clients such as SSE Renewables and Ørsted.

What has XOCEAN been focused on recently? With over 21,600 operational hours under our belt, XOCEAN is increasing the size of its fleet to keep up with industry demand. The company has 14 USVs in operation and plans to increase this to 40 USVs by the end of 2022.


As part of a recent project, XOCEAN recently delivered a site investigation survey for Ørsted’s Hornsea One Offshore Wind Farm – the world’s biggest offshore wind farm. The XO-450 USV was launched and recovered from shore, transiting over 120km to the survey location. The USV completed the survey activities in site conditions of up to 1.9m max wave heights, providing accurate and high-resolution seabed data from both Multibeam Echosounder and Sub-Bottom Profiler sensors in 30m water depth.


XOCEAN USV surveying an offshore windfarm

What does XOCEAN offer to overcome the challenges and distinguish it in the market?


XOCEAN USVs offer three key benefits, which align very closely to the core objectives of our customers:

  • Safety – no people have to go offshore.

  • Environment – our USVs emit 1,000 times less carbon emissions than a conventional survey ship.

  • Economics – USVs can deliver the same data, at a lower cost, than traditional survey ships.

For this reason, we see USVs delivering solutions for numerous ocean data collection activities.


To hear more from XOcean and our other expert speakers, register for tomorrow’s webinar “Vessel support for offshore wind operations” at 10:00 am – book your place online today!

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