Helicopter operator HTM Helikopter has signed a three-year cooperation agreement for offshore service on wind farms in the North Sea with wind turbine manufacturer Areva Wind, offshore wind project company Global Tech 1 and energy company Trianel.
Helikopter Travel München (HTM) will transport people and materials for Areva Wind and its customers, and wind project companies Trianel Windpark Borkum and Global Tech 1.
HTM's EC135 and EC145 helicopters with special equipment for hoisting service technicians and replacement parts on to the wind turbines will fly out of the port of Emden.
The helicopters will be included in Trianel Windpark Borkum's accident emergency unit for its 200MW project under construction 45km off the island of Borkum. The 400MW Global Tech 1 project is also under construction, 180km north west of Bremerhaven.
The strategic partnership will help reduce costs and secure a high technical availability of Areva wind turbines, Areva Wind said.
Helicopter services are generally considered too expensive to compete with vessels, but can make good economic sense on projects that are a long way off the coast, Petr Svoboda of BET argued at a German Wind Energy Association seminar in Hamburg last week.
Daily rental of about €5,500 for a service vessel to provide crew transport and service is not hugely cheaper than the two-hour hire of an EC135 helicopter at €3,500/hour, which can do the job done more quickly and flexibly, he said.