Offshore wind is becoming an ever more integral part of global energy infrastructure, and technology like IoT can help turbines operate with much greater efficiency.
The growth of IoT has the potential to offer significant advantages to offshore wind power maintenance, with sensor technology able to provide constant data on the functioning of turbines.
Turbines are expensive (around $1 million each) and complex pieces of equipment that can include up to 1,000 sensors, integrating strain gauges, bearing monitors and power conditioning technology. Due to all the complex components involved, there is a lot that could go wrong during normal, daily operations. Furthermore, it is a huge task to integrate turbines so that they all work together in hard to reach places out at sea.
However, IoT can significantly increase a wind farm’s reliability and the lifetime of key turbine components, and see decreases in the number of failures and the downtime of a wind turbine generator, and reduced costs by cutting the resources required for annual inspections of turbines.
With condition-based maintenance, repairs are performed only after certain indicators show evidence of decreasing performance of key components, or if an upcoming failure is detected early.
This strategy allows maintenance to be carried out on an as-needed basis, allowing the best planning of activities reducing logistic and material costs while increasing availability. It also allows the costs associated with maintenance to be drastically cut by minimising the occurrence of serious faults.
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