The point of maintaining wind turbines is to both to improve their efficiency and extend their lifespan. How exactly do turbine maintenance technicians achieve this, so as to keep the production of wind energy from being interrupted?
Ongoing wind turbine maintenance
The key to efficiency and longevity in wind turbines is regular maintenance. Much like a car that needs to be serviced on an annual basis, wind turbines need to undergo a specific maintenance routine to keep them running smoothly and to ensure that its components are all in good condition.
Wind turbines are generally built for a 20-year lifespan. This projection is based on the condition that the turbines are properly maintained at regular intervals. With proper maintenance, carried out by a really good team, efficient operation can actually be extended for longer than two decades. In achieving this, maintenance teams focus on the upkeep of three main components: blades, gearboxes, shafts and electronics.
- Blades: the quality of turbine blades has improved dramatically over the past few years and – when it comes to newer models, at least – these parts are usually of least concern to maintenance crews, with failure being quite rare.
- Main shafts: these large structures have very few issues in the early part of their lives. However, after several years of service, they may start to experience failures in their main bearings. These are usually quite inexpensive to repair but can lead to considerable downtime while the maintenance work is being done.
- Gearboxes: these can be the most temperamental and costly components of wind turbines. It’s important to use predictive or prescriptive maintenance methods to identify failures before they happen. In many cases, gearboxes won’t hold up for the entire lifespan of the turbine and will need to be replaced. However, regular maintenance, including oil changes, can help to extend the lives of gearboxes for as long as possible.
An annual maintenance plan carried out by Anemoi technicians will ensure that wind turbines reach and exceed their lifespans, while running at maximum efficiency – a vital requirement for the renewable energy industry. Contact Anemoi for more information.