It’s no secret that wind farm operators, like all renewable energy generators, struggle with maximizing power generation. In addition to performing maintenance at optimal times, wind farm operators have the added challenge of needing to know when the wind speeds they rely on to generate power might actually damage operating turbines.
To overcome these challenges, Schneider Electric is releasing two new solutions that will help the wind power industry maximize generation, efficiency, and crew safety.
First, turbine blade inspection reports to help wind farm operators efficiently respond to lightning strikes, a leading cause of blade damage and unplanned outages. Using Schneider Electric’s lightning tracking technology, this solution offers operators a daily data report that lists all lightning activity in the past 24 hours, including the likelihood that turbines within a given area were struck. The solution benefits users by:
• Allowing a more efficient inspection and repair process, as crews know which turbines may need attention and can prioritize their inspection and maintenance schedules
• Improving lightning damage detection that allows blades to be repaired before damage progresses, reducing overall blade repair costs and turbine downtime
• Providing useful information such as the affected turbine’s name/ID, lightning strike date and time, and the exact location and intensity of the strike
• Offering a customizable strike confidence level, which allows customers to tailor their report by choosing the degree of confidence that a strike occurred within a certain number of meters
• Sharing the most updated forecast information with operators through Weather Sentry Online or a mobile application, ensuring better safety in the field
• These reports can ultimately save wind farm operators thousands of dollars in blade repair and replacement costs. Lightning damage is not always easily visible, but it can lead to larger issues if undetected — a very real possibility in a wind farm that is operating dozens, if not hundreds, of turbines. By detecting strike damage early, operators save money and significant time as they no longer have to visually determine whether any strikes came close to the turbines.
• In addition to lightning, wind-related intelligence is also important when enhancing efficiency and crew safety. Schneider Electric’s hub height wind forecasts solution provides hourly wind speed and direction forecasts at typical turbine heights as opposed to the ground speed forecasts normally available. With this technology, wind farm operators can make better informed operation and maintenance scheduling decisions to maximize generation, benefiting from the following:
• Highly accurate hourly forecasts at the three most popular turbine hub heights — 80, 100, and 120 meters — which are more useful than standard forecasts at 10 meters
• Operators can confidently schedule maintenance not only when it is safe for crews but also during periods of lowest generation capacity
• Minimizing generation loss from turbines damaged when operating in excessive wind conditions
• Improved generation capacity forecasting with more accurate and timely forecast information
These new solutions enhance Schneider Electric’s support package for the wind market that already includes highly accurate wind power forecasts and a complete lightning safety solution. Together, these offerings represent the most comprehensive wind power support solution available on the market.
For more information, go to www.schneider-electric.com.
— Source: Schneider Electric