Speaking the client's language: first Chinese code of practice for offshore wind power projects

Swiss Re translates European Wind Turbine Committee's Code of Practice into Chinese.

Offshore wind power is a booming high-tech industry with enormous development potential, and China's long coastlines offer a gold mine of clean offshore wind resources. At the same time, wind farm construction is fraught with severe risks and challenges. Drawing on its global technical and risk management expertise, Swiss Re debuted the Chinese Offshore Code of Practice in September 2014 to help advance the offshore wind power industry in China.

The Chinese government has a keen interest to tap into this vast resource of clean power, and has been building offshore wind farms for some time. Most recently, it announced a plan to build 44 offshore wind power projects with the combined installed capacity exceeding 10 million kilowatts.

Effective risk management a top priority

While the prospects are highly attractive, the actual construction of offshore wind farms is a highly complex undertaking. Demanding technical requirements, substantial construction risks, soaring construction costs and a serious shortage of construction capacity and experienced staff are just some of the challenges these projects typically involve.

To help mitigate the risks, Swiss Re's Global Engineering team translated a Chinese version of the Offshore Code of Practice (OCoP), which was officially debuted at a Swiss Re seminar for Chinese insurance companies in April. The code is designed to help insurers and project participants reduce their risk exposure and ensure project quality.

Global expertise to support Chinese insurers

The construction environment for offshore projects is in itself very demanding, and varies drastically from one project to the next depending on the location. Extreme weather conditions also pose a severe threat throughout the surveying and construction phases, and the short weather windows” make offshore operations a challenging task. In a nutshell, professional risk management is crucial for this type of project.

The European Wind Turbine Committee initiated by Swiss Re recently produced a joint code of practice for offshore wind turbine construction, with Swiss Re's Engineering Munich Hub leading a task force of members of the German Insurance Association (GDV) and wind power manufacturers, contractors, members of the insurance industry (German Insurance Association (GDV) and European Wind Turbine Committee (EWTC) as well as wind offshore power manufacturers, contractors, consultants and energy providers. The official German and English versions were released in September 2014. 

The OCoP offers risk management guidelines for offshore wind power projects and a detailed list of the risks involved, from transportation and geological survey to civil construction, installation and commissioning. It also proposes measures to mitigate or eliminate possible risks, thus helping to reduce material losses and construction delays to acceptable levels.

Published 28 September 2015


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