SgurrEnergy, part of Wood Group’s clean energy business, has introduced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to its existing inspection service offering after extensive testing and obtaining the Civil Aviation Authority‘s Permission for Aerial Work.
The renewable energy and grid integration consultancy’s UAVs or drones are equipped with a variety of camera options to provide an accurate detailed assessment of an asset’s condition. The service development was a natural progression of SgurrEnergy’s extensive track record of operating and maintaining sites across the globe, including having conducted projects across 90 countries and six continents.
“SgurrEnergy’s wide range of operational and maintenance services are designed to optimize operational performance and increase the revenue generation of our clients’ projects whilst reducing operational costs,” said Robbie Gibson, Director of Asset Management at SgurrEnergy.
O&M inspections on wind turbines can be carried out up to four times faster than traditional rope access methods, which means there is very limited downtime required. The safety risk to inspection personnel is also reduced significantly, thanks to the UAV’s ability to capture multi-angle, high-definition photos of hard-to-reach spaces.
By using the company’s interactive, online reporting portal, site owners, and operators can identify historical trends, linking defects directly to WTG performance. This solution allows clients to maximize annual energy production on their sites through the identification of defects causing underperformance and reduction of downtime during an inspection campaign.
With this information, clients can better calculate the cost-benefit ratio of when to carry out repairs whilst defects can be viewed by severity classification, defect type and position on the blade. This has been achieved through the support of Wood Group’s digital solutions capability, which provides engineering design and operational management solutions unavailable to other UAV operators active in wind turbine inspection.
“We’re always striving to improve our client offering and by introducing an innovative software reporting system our clients can recognize dangerous trends and make better-informed asset management decisions,” said Gibson.
SgurrEnergy’s UAVs are available as a standalone service or as part of a suite of services supporting project delivery and operation.