Bureau Veritas, a provider of testing, inspection, and certification TIC services, has successfully completed a Lifetime Extension (LTE) Assessment on an aging wind farm. Ultimately, a three-year LTE was granted and implemented at a fraction of cost of a full repowering. Improvements in maintenance and inspection plans for the wind farm were also achieved.
The completion of an LTE Assessment was required by national regulations for the turbine to continue operating beyond its certified Design Life. Wind turbines are generally designed to last for 20 years. When the design lifetime is close to being reached, various options are usually considered: decommission the turbines, repower the site with high-rated power turbines or extend the operation of the installed turbines. The latter was the goal of this particular assessment.
In this case, the real conditions under which the wind turbine is operating differ from the assumptions made about wind class during the turbine’s design. Through a blend of simulations and a review of the turbine’s Type certification documentation; in particular its corresponding safety margins, the Bureau Veritas team concluded that a Multi-year lifetime extension was feasible.
This LTE analysis was conducted using existing turbine performance output, calculations and inspections, and proved that wind farms contain infrastructural components whose design lifetime may be higher than the typical 20+ years design lifetime of wind turbines. To put it simply, replacing a blade or a gearbox will obviously be less expensive than installing an entirely new wind turbine. In this instance, and potentially in other similar instances, extending the operation of the wind farm will allow the owner to increase the assets’ value, maximize their revenue and reduce the cost of energy.
“For over 30 years, Bureau Veritas has been supporting the wind industry within the testing, inspection and certification market,” says Jeremy Erndt, Director, Renewable Energy at Bureau Veritas. “By performing LTE assessments with an impartial and experienced organization, wind farm owners and operators can extend the lifetime of their portfolio, identify the true state of their assets, monitor potential performance issues and determine future plans all while protecting financial and legal stakeholders.”
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Filed Under: News, O&M, Repowering