Larger, higher efficiency turbines and the “clustering” of project resources are driving down offshore wind maintenance costs as they become increasingly important in project valuations, Tom Harries, Wind Energy Analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), said.
Using drones that follow automated flight paths without the need for a human pilot could allow wind farm project teams to inspect up to twice as many turbines in a day as they can today, experts told Wind Energy Update.
Emerging oil filtration techniques could minimize pad-mount transformer faults and reduce one of the biggest sources of wind farm balance-of-plant (BoP) maintenance, Judah Moseson, vice president of operations at service provider Cooke Power Services, told Wind Energy Update.
Improving wind turbine reliability to 99.5% will require new data analysis approaches across the industry as existing techniques won’t allow the sector to go above current reliability levels, according to Carsten Westergaard, senior advisor, Wind and Water at the Sandia National Laboratories and Professor of Practice at Texas Tech University.
Switching to self-performance of wind farm operations and maintenance (O&M) at end of warranty can cut costs by between 25% and 35% and allow operators to make more design improvements to increase unit reliability, Jeff Wehner, VP Renewable Operations, Duke Energy, said.
Portugal’s Iberwind has increased the availability of its wind farms by around 4% since 2007 and expects further performance improvements following trailblazing tests on yaw alignment and blade aerodynamics, Rui Maia, Iberwind’s Operation and Maintenance Manager, said.
Firms in markets offering low incentives for repowering have developed cost efficient maintenance which can expand lifespans by as much as ten years and improve condition monitoring systems to maximize profits.