Growing wholesale market exposure and rising flexibility requirements have led some wind operators to develop profit-sharing operations and maintenance (O&M) arrangements which maximize market revenues.
Using drones that follow automated flight paths without the need for a human pilot could allow wind farm project teams to inspect up to twice as many turbines in a day as they can today, experts told Wind Energy Update.
Emerging oil filtration techniques could minimize pad-mount transformer faults and reduce one of the biggest sources of wind farm balance-of-plant (BoP) maintenance, Judah Moseson, vice president of operations at service provider Cooke Power Services, told Wind Energy Update.
Improving wind turbine reliability to 99.5% will require new data analysis approaches across the industry as existing techniques won’t allow the sector to go above current reliability levels, according to Carsten Westergaard, senior advisor, Wind and Water at the Sandia National Laboratories and Professor of Practice at Texas Tech University.
The existing fleet of turbine and foundation installation vessels is well suited to serve the European offshore wind market in the short and mid-term but it will not be sufficient to support installation demand after 2020, Michael Guldbrandtsen, senior consultant at MAKE Consulting, told Wind Energy Update.
Most independent developers and utilities in Europe’s offshore wind sector are responding to new financing models and more complex projects by switching from multi-contracting to 2-3 construction contracts per project, Rob Mcabb, partner at Eversheds, told Wind Energy Update.
A competitive Dutch tender system and favorable site conditions were key to DONG Energy’s record-low bid strike price of 72.7 euros per MWh for the Borssele 1&2 offshore wind projects, but the Danish utility likely beat other bidders by revving up efforts to maximize its energy production, optimize its operating costs and by securing lower-cost financing, industry experts said.
Offshore accommodation platforms can boost turbine availability by several percent on larger wind farms and extend the reach of crew transfer vessels further offshore, industry experts told Wind Energy Update.
The planned cost of the 21 MW Icebreaker Great Lakes wind project has fallen 17% in the last two years to $125 million and generation costs are expected to be lower than the 30 MW Block Island wind farm off Rhode Island, Lorry Wagner, president of Icebreaker developer Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo), said.