In a windswept field on the Cumbrian coast of England, stands a wind farm of Vestas V52 turbines. While these turbines look perfectly normal to the naked eye, Windcluster is applying a pioneering approach to the operation and management of these aging assets.
Wind turbines are designed to last 20 years. With good O&M practices, typical life extension of the turbines may yield a few more years, 22-25 years of life. The owners of the Haverigg wind farm are aiming far longer. They intend to operate the turbines for 40 years, double the lifespan of a typical wind turbine.
How will they do this?
First, they commissioned an extensive study of the turbines themselves to determine the condition of the key components and to get an assessment of the remaining life.
Second, they are installing CMS on the turbines. Now widespread in the industry, CMS systems continually monitor the vibrations inside turbines. Changes in the vibration are often among the earliest indicators of potential problems. Valuable data also comes from temperature and oil particle sensors. Acting on these early indicators is an essential step towards predictive rather than reactive maintenance.
Third, Windcluster is establishing a baseline dataset from which future performance of key components can be closely monitored, and is developing a preventative maintenance strategy. For this they turned to i4SEE.
Colin Palmer, Managing Director of Windcluster: “Historically, the operation of our turbines has been very much a black box, but we are now determined to look inside, though worried that we might drown in data. I4SEE’s systems will make sense of all the disparate data streams and allow us to see what matters, and what we need to do when.”
“We are very pleased to be a part of Windcluster’s ambition of reaching 40 years of turbine operation. Our analytics will give a high level of certainty to Windcluster not just that their turbine health is being closely monitored, but also that a long-term maintenance plan is followed. To use a medical analogy, like an experienced doctor, we take in current and historical data and combine it with our expertise in order to deliver strategic advice for an optimal health plan,” .Christopher Gray, CEO of i4SEE