Maintenance concern flagged over newer windfarms

Wind turbines.
Wind turbines.

Newer windfarms require more than double the amount of  maintenance than older ones, according to an independent inspection firm.

Windfarms under five years of age require on average seven repairs per turbine in contrast to those older than that period only needing 2.2 repairs.

A report by UK blade repair firm Altitec claims that new projects are likely to “require more active monitoring and maintenance”, despite operators expecting to prioritise older developments.

Altitec say that the emergence of larger capacity turbine models has led to an increase in blade spans resulting in unforseen operation and maintenance (O&M) challenges.

Tom Dyffort, managing director, Altitec Group, said: “We recommend that all wind farms undergo regular blade inspections, no matter their age, to ensure they continue to perform at their optimal levels and that energy production remains as high as possible.

“But our records indicate that, during the first five years of a wind farm’s operational lifetime, O&M managers may be more prone to overlooking the need for blade maintenance.

“Ultimately, this will only result in more serious faults developing, more repairs being required and longer periods of turbine downtime.”

The turbine repair firm say that external repairs account for the vast majority of work required on wind turbines, adding that structures become”damaged and distorted due to the mechanical stresses placed upon them as the blades flex and twist under loading”.

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