Operation and maintenance is a key cost in offshore wind turbine installations. Optical strain gauge technology can allow continuous and remote monitoring of blade condition. Operation and maintenance (O&M) of offshore wind turbines is one of the main cost drivers for offshore wind energy, where site visits can be very expensive.
At present, OPEX cost contributes approximately 25% to the Levelised Cost Of Energy (LCOE). Condition based maintenance presents an attractive means to control the O&M costs of wind turbines and – compared to corrective maintenance – can reduce downtime, minimise the consequences of damage, improve planning of activities, and enable better use of resources and equipment. The result is an overall reduction in cost.
The Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) has been developing a fibre optic system capable of accurately monitoring the mechanical loads in the rotor blades, where most of the loads are introduced.
Please note the range (maximum strain level) of ECN’s sensor was meanwhile extended to
-2500 µε … +2500 µε. The author of the article, Luc Rademakers, currently is director of ECN’s test site EWTW.