The phasing out of public subsidies and subsequent reduction of wind energy sale prices has triggered the need for going the extra mile when it comes to optimising the output of wind energy assets. Underperformance or non-optimal operation and power generation are a frequent issue on operating wind turbines. Access to powerful independent information completing the manufacturers scope is the only lever to keep an edge over operational optimisation of the machines.
Two main causes sum up the majority of optimisation issues:
• erroneous or incorrect settings on the turbine, causing it to produce less energy than expected
• lack of adaptation to the local wind conditions. In this case even if the turbine’s parameters are set as expected, it might not be producing the maximum power possible
Incorrect settings occur as wind turbines are complex systems that need to be well tuned in order to perform up to their potential. During the lifetime of wind turbines, non-optimal operation can occur, reducing the performance and therefore the power output the turbine is able to produce. These non-optimal behaviors can be present since the commissioning of the wind farm or can appear every time a parameter is changed or maintenance activity is performed on one of the key elements of the turbine.
Wind turbines can turn out to be ill-adapted to local conditions. Their settings and control parameters are defined under reference conditions that can strongly differ from those experienced on-site. The use of these ‘worst-case scenario’ parameters creates a suboptimal energy yield and therefore an optimising potential when adapting wind farms to the wind characteristics of each site.
So how to unlock the full potential of
Two options arise: making sure that the wind turbine presents no defaults during operation and that operating parameters are well adapted to the on-site conditions of the wind turbine. This can only be obtained if we have access to maximum relevant information on how the wind turbine operates. But surely nobody needs more meaningless or redundant data. The growing volume of data to look at and act upon makes it difficult to see an added value in solutions that provide yet again more information. And that’s the reason why external independent information, bringing either additional or deeper analysis, is key to make sense of it all. With dedicated designed algorithms, data analysis extracts only the empowering bits and pieces, turning them into levers for operators.