There is a need for wind farm owners and operators to find ways to uncover pathways to smarter and more efficient maintenance. This maintenance should not be limited to turbines alone (gearboxes, main bearing, and blades, and generators), but also having the ability to monitor and efficiently predict potential challenges.
Having maintenance crews onsite is sometimes costly and inefficient, especially for remote locales, the cost is immense. Turbines can wear out some times in unpredictable circumstances. For these reasons and so many others, the cost of wind turbines maintenance is sometimes higher than its original budget.
We hope that we will provide you with further efficiencies that will immensely improve these turbines for proper wind farming through our findings. Below are 5 tips for improving wind farm efficiencies:
1. Embrace Asset Performance Management
Asset Performance Management, popularly known as APM, has various descriptions; one compelling narrative is “don’t try to fix something that hasn’t break. APM seeks to come up with the most optimized maintenance strategies to achieve the set goals.
Generally, most wind farms operate under two maintenance approach (either preventive or time-based) as recommended by the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). However, some operators choose to run at a higher risk of the ” run to failure” approach. None of this is acceptable if O&M optimization is your goal.
Owners or operators need a non-invasive was to determine if there is a need for action. The OEMs suggest regular maintenance at strategic intervals. An example is a tower, which is usually maintained once a year to tighten its bolts, change its oil, change its brushes, and so on.
However, time-based maintenance is not the best way to maintain your wind turbine. Weather conditions like wind, turbulence, velocity, and so on tend to differ on one side of the array over the other. Even more, geography and terrain elevation causes wind turbines to operate in various and unpredictable ways.
Every wind is different; hence there is no precise way to supply a common approach to maintenance, especially with something variable.
2. Regularly Monitor Your Wind Farm
There are advanced condition monitoring techniques out there, and experiences gained by these techniques are vital towards helping you manage the wind farm assets. For example, a gearbox failure (either planetary or helical) is a significant concern to manufacturers and operators. This gearbox is responsible for as much as 25 to 30% of the wind farm operation and maintenance.
When you convert to a digitized wind farm, it enables you and your operators always to keep an eye on the gearboxes and other components. Doing so will allow you to notice defects and how you monitor it to generate revenue as a repair is ongoing. Ultimately, it prevents the run-to-failure and catastrophic events.
Beyond the gearbox, other components are susceptible to wear and tear if not properly maintained. These components include main bearings, generators, blades, the towers itself, and so on. When you employ asset performance conditions, operators find it easier to monitor across the fleets while maintaining efficiency.
3. Detect Issues Early
Your ability to predict, plan, assess, and optimize turbine conditions helps you drive more efficient operations as well as maintain good working practices. Here are some factors to consider as the turbine aging diminishes reliability as well as increases its risk of failure:
· The quality of the original turbine, it’s construction and manufacturing.
· The turbines variable usage and how hard it’s driven over time
· How well is the turbine loaded and used, extracting from the asset?
4. Control Your Risks and Warranties
There is a need to mitigate risk to ensure revenue creation, continuity, and accidental occurrences. These risks that need mitigation include fulfilling power supply contracts, unplanned maintenance for components that fail, issues related to achieving business objectives, trouble meeting safety targets, and so on.
When you manage these risks efficiently, it helps you achieve availability and the reliability of your stated targets.
5. Gain Insight About Remote Locations
Unlike other fixed-power generation assets, the wind turbine is different. They operate in remote and difficult-to-access locations, making it challenging, labor-intensive, and extremely expensive to observe and qualify its conditions manually. Hence, it’s essential to gain insights into these remote locations.
Aside from these 5 tips for improving wind farm efficiencies, there are many other tips out there. However, these are very important if you want to continue making progress and still maintain your turbines. We hope you imbibe these tips to your wind farming.