As climates shift and weather events become more extreme, it is imperative that wind farm owners and operators prepare for the worst that the cold season has to offer. Ice-based downtime significantly reduces the efficiency, and therefore the profitability, of wind energy installations worldwide. This issue is compounded by the increased energy needs of the communities these installations service in winter.
The industry solutions to combat the effects of cold seasons have been largely stagnant, focusing primarily on removal: hosing down blades with de-icing agents or hot water shot from platforms or helicopters. The sector has also seen the introduction of heated and vibrating blades to prevent the formation of ice. While the latter solutions have proven effective under certain circumstances, they also require costly retrofitting or new installations and require the very same power the turbine is producing to function. Just this year, there was even a report of diesel generators being used to keep turbines from freezing.