Extending the service life of wind turbines according to site-specific conditions

For many years, the wind power sector has experienced an intensive maturing process based on the detection and correction (always after the event) of problems with the wind turbine’s large components such as the gearboxes or blades.

The resultant financial impact was able to be supported thanks to a positive global economic situation and sector growth. However recent years have seen the emergence of a different situation with pressure on minimising the COE (Cost of Energy) greater than ever.

In addition to this, there is a huge fleet of already installed wind power assets whose value requires upgrading and protecting to anticipate any possible problem associated to the turbines’ ageing process. In such a situation, an adequate Long-Term Operation (LTO) protocol is one of the keys to guaranteeing a proper IRR (Internal Rate of Return) on the wind power investment. Detecting the correct life, applying the most appropriate life extension strategies and identifying specific life management strategies form the axis for the LTO.

Article published in: FuturENERGY September 2014