Working in the offshore wind industry requires a working knowledge of many different industry–specific terms. Gaining this knowledge can take some time if you are not regularly interacting with a specific piece of equipment, installation type, or industry activity. To help jump–start your learning curve, Armoda has put together a list of offshore wind terms to know.

  1. ABS – American Bureau of Shipping is a classification society for marine and offshore assets. It strives to promote the security of life and property while preserving the natural environment.
  2. ATEX – Atmosphères Explosibles. ATEX is a safety certification from the European Union for equipment (mainly electrical equipment) used in hazardous areas.
  3. BESS – Battery Energy Storage Systems provide a solution for energy storage and power management, load management, backup power, and improved power quality. One of the primary benefits of BESS is its ability to store excess energy generated by offshore wind farms. This benefits offshore wind farms as their energy can be intermittent, meaning their output may not always match the energy demand. By storing the excess energy produced during peak periods, a BESS can help ensure that the energy is available when needed, even if the renewable source isn't generating at that time.
  4. CE Marked – Conformitè Europëenne. CE Mark is the European Union’s mandatory conformity marking for regulating the goods sold within the European Economic Area (EEA).
  5. CSA – The CSA Group is a Canadian group comprised of two organizations, Standards Development and the Global Testing, Inspection, and Certification. Offshore wind facilities and equipment that operate in Canadian waters will require specific CSA certifications of their equipment and facilities.
  6. DNV – DNV, or DNV GL, stands for the Norwegian classification society Stiftelsen Det Norske Veritas. DNV provides certification standards for protecting the life, property, and the environment of offshore facilities, vessels, and the crews under their jurisdiction.
  7. Decommissioning – The process of removing offshore wind turbines and associated infrastructure at the end of their operational life.
  8. Feeder Support Vessels – Feeder support vessels (FSVs) are designed to handle the transportation of wind turbine components from the port to the field. They are typically comprised of a large deck with an integrated skidding system that allows for the wind turbine components to be moved from their storage positions on the vessel used during transportation to their lift-off position when at the field ready to be installed.
  9. Field Development Vessel – Field development vessels (FDV), sometimes called cable laying vessels (CLV) in the industry, tie together all the individual wind turbines and connect them to shore. They inter-array the cables, position electrical cables between the turbines, and then run them to shore. The vessel's deck is equipped with a large cable carousel, a tower with a cable tensioner and guide units to keep the cable correctly positioned as it is laid.
  10. Floating Wind Turbine – Floating wind turbines were developed to allow offshore wind farms to operate in deeper waters. There are three common types of floating turbines: spar, semisubmersible, and tension leg platform. They each use a unique design to provide a stable and safe operating platform for the turbine.
  11. Foundation – The foundation is the structure used to provide a stable platform that the wind turbine can be built upon. In shallower waters, the foundation is anchored to the seabed, commonly made of steel monopiles or jackets. In deeper waters, floating platforms are used as the foundation.
  12. Grid Connection – The physical connection of the offshore wind farm to the onshore electricity grid.
  13. IECEx – This is the International Electrotechnical Commission System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres. Their objective is to standardize and facilitate trade-in equipment and services for use in explosive atmospheres while maintaining the required level of safety. This objective is accomplished through their certification schemes for equipment, personnel, and facilities.
  14. IMO – International Maritime Organization. The United Nations formed IMO to be a global standard-setting authority for the safety, security, and environmental performance of international shipping.
  15. Inter-array Cables – These are subsea cables that connect all the wind farm's turbines to the offshore substation.
  16. Jacket Foundation – Jacket Foundations are used in depths up to 60 meters. They utilize a lattice-steel structure with three or four anchoring points embedded into the seafloor.
  17. MSD Unit – Marine Sanitation Device. MSD is a wastewater treatment unit designed to receive, retain, treat, or discharge sewage, and any process used to treat sewage.
  18. Megawatt – Megawatt (MW) is a power unit equal to one million watts. On average, today’s offshore wind turbines can produce around 7.4 MW.
  19. Monopile Foundation – Monopile foundations are typically used when a wind turbine is installed in waters with depths up to 15 meters. They are large steel cylinders buried into the seafloor that extend upward, ensuring the turbines are at a safe height above sea level.
  20. Nacelle – The nacelle is the housing structure at the top of the wind turbine tower that houses the generator, gearbox, brakes, cooling system and control system.
  21. Office/Workshop ModuleOffshore modules designed to work in more hazardous areas meeting various certification requirements such as ZONE, IECEx, and Division.
  22. Offshore Wind Farm – Offshore wind farm is the term used to describe the collection of wind turbines and their supporting infrastructures located offshore to generate electricity.
  23. Offshore Wind Turbine Installation Vessel – Wind turbine installation vessels (WTIV) are designed for the installation and construction of wind turbines offshore. These vessels typically use a jack-up design in which a set of legs are lowered to the sea floor to raise the vessel's deck above the water's surface. In deeper water, where the jack-up legs cannot operate, the vessel will use a DP system to maintain its position. The vessel will have a large crane for positioning and placing the wind turbine components during construction.
  24. Offshore Wind Resource Assessment – Offshore Wind Resource Assessments measure and assess the available wind resources, in a given area. According to the Department of Energy’s 2022 Offshore Wind Resource Assessment, it was determined that “offshore wind has 1.5 terawatts of fixed-bottom technical resource potential and 2.8 terawatts of floating offshore wind energy technical resource potential across eight areas in the contiguous United States.”
  25. PAMPortable Accommodation Modules are temporary offshore modules that add accommodations such as sleeping quarters, galleys, diners, offices, recreation rooms, and more.
  26. Pitch System – The pitch system controls the angle of the turbine blades. The ability to adjust the angle of the turbine blade enables the turbine to be optimized to the current conditions and maximize the amount of energy that can be produced.
  27. POB – People on Board is the term often used when discussing the number of personnel on the offshore facility or vessel.
  28. Power Curve – The power curve is the graph of the power output of a turbine based on different wind speeds.
  29. Reefer Units – Insulated refrigerated modules designed for the marine environment to store perishable refrigerated and frozen goods and groceries.
  30. Repowering – Repowering a wind farm is the process of replacing existing older turbines with newer models that can generate more power. Repowering can often achieve higher generation with fewer turbines due to newer turbines' greater efficiency and capacity.
  31. Rotor – The rotor is the rotating section of the turbine. It consists of the turbine blades and the hub that connects the blades to the shaft.
  32. Service Operation Vessels – Service operation vessels (SOV) are specifically designed to support servicing and repair. The vessels are constructed to provide accommodations and officing for the crews who service the wind turbines. They are equipped with gangways that enable the crew to walk the turbine from the vessel and a small crane to allow for launching and to retrieve smaller craft to ferry works if the need arises.
  33. SOLAS – Safety of Life at Sea. The SOLAS convention was held in response to the sinking of the Titanic. It formed an international treaty to specify the minimum standards for the construction, equipment, and operation of ships, compatible with their safety.
  34. Substation – A substation is where all the power generated by the turbines is collected and stabilized before transmission through the export cable onshore.
  35. Support Modules – Offshore modules constructed to provide galley, diner, laundry, office, and recreation rooms to offshore assets.
  36. TLQTemporary Living Quarters, also known as TLQs, refers to accommodation modules added to vessels or offshore facilities to increase the number of people who can be housed. TLQs can range in size, adding as few as 1–2 people to sleeping 100 or more.
  37. Turbine Capacity – Turbine capacity refers to the maximum power a turbine can produce. On average, today’s offshore turbines can produce around 7.4 megawatts.
  38. USCG – The United States Coast Guard enforces US federal regulations on marine and offshore assets. They work with classification societies and provide supplemental requirements when necessary.
  39. Wake Effect – This wind effect describes the wind speed reduction after passing through wind turbines. Understanding wake effect is essential for position turbines to ensure they can achieve their energy production.
  40. Wind Turbine Installation Vessels – Wind turbine installation vessels (WTIV) are designed for the installation and construction of wind turbines offshore. These vessels typically use a jack-up design in which a set of legs are lowered to the sea floor, and raise the vessel's deck above the water's surface.
  41. Wind Turbine – Wind turbines are large mechanical devices that use blades to capture wind energy and convert it into electrical power through a generator.
  42. Yaw System – The yaw system enables the turbine to change the direction it is facing so the wind turbine can optimize its power production.

The offshore wind industry has many industry-specific terms. We hope this list of terms will give newcomers to the industry a valuable resource and serve as a helpful refresher for those with more experience.

Armoda supports the offshore wind industry with modular buildings, technical buildings and accommodation modules, as well as service, maintenance, and parts. Contact us today if we can be of service on your next project.