Assessing ageing wind turbines for lifetime extension

FuturENERGY April-May 2020

Despite having a planned service life of around 20 years, many wind turbines can operate safely for several years beyond their design lives. To establish whether a wind turbine is fit for continued operation, a lifetime extension assessment is conducted. In this article, TÜV SÜD describes the requirements, methods and results of this safety evaluation procedure.

As wind turbines approach the end of their service lives, their operators are faced with crucial business decisions. It is important to note, however, that decommissioning or repowering are not the only options to be considered. It may be possible to continue operating the wind turbines for a number of years beyond the end of their service lives. As will be explained below, the repairs needed are generally cost-effective and require only a limited period of downtime.

By Christian Schumacher & Florian Weber, TÜV SÜD Industrie Service GmbH