Understanding out-of-warranty reliability

New research into turbine reliability from Wind Energy Update in partnership with Wind Energy Benchmarking Services (WEBS) has found DFIM turbines have the longest repair times per failure. The research took thousands of years of combined operational data for different generation capacities and turbine technologies. By measuring the time to failure and the repair time per failure, the research provides a cutting-edge insight into turbine reliability and performance. Participation in a benchmarking programme is critical to enable access to reliability and performance data, knowledge sharing of best practices and the implementation of sector-wide standards. This is already increasing investor confidence in the wind sector by reducing the levelised cost of energy. Without strong benchmarking capabilities, insights such as this are harder to detect and asset managers will miss out on the benefits of greater reliability and targeted maintenance planning, which benchmarking can offer.

The O&M landscape has undergone considerable changes in recent years. Owner, operators and IPPs are increasingly examining a range of O&M options as their assets reach end-of-warranty. A recent report by GCube noted that around 1/3 of all wind turbines are nearing the end of O&M service agreements. Operators, asset managers and those responsible for overall project operations are now assessing the value of independent service provider (ISP) maintenance contracts. Cost is often cited as an important issue when selecting an ISP or the OEM end-of-warranty package option. At a time of decreasing subsidies and record low auction prices, cost is increasingly significant, a trend expected to continue over the next 3-5 years.

 

Navigant Research has noted that warranties have now expired on over 50% of the global installed turbine capacity. Make Consulting predict that the global O&M market is set to grow from $9.7bn in 2015 to $19.3bn by 2021. This trend is particularly prevalent in the USA. IHS Energy Research forecast US O&M spending will almost double to $6bn by 2025 as a direct result of the number of turbines coming out of warranty. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY January-February 2017