Wind farms are complex systems that require effective monitoring to maximise energy production. However, critical factors like turbine availability can sometimes be overlooked, despite their significant impact on energy generation and revenue.
In this article, we'll shed a light on the unspoken issues of wind turbine availability, emphasise the importance of managing them, and highlight strategies that wind farm operators can use to optimise production and minimise costly downtime.
What is Turbine Availability?
When it comes to the wind industry, availability can be defined as how often a wind turbine is fully operational and capable of generating power. Various factors can impede a turbine's energy production, including:
1 - Not enough wind: below a certain wind speed, wind turbines do not generate electricity ; 2 - Maintenance activities: when an intervention is performed the wind turbine is stopped for safety reasons ; 3 - Turbine default: if a significant issue is present that prevents the turbine from operating normally, the turbine might be stopped until the issue is resolved.
Turbine availability is the most impactful parameter on wind farm production as it directly impacts the power output: a turbine that is not available to generate power means a direct loss of revenue for the operator. Precise monitoring of this parameter throughout the lifetime of the wind farms is therefore a strict requirement for asset owners and operators.
Turbine Availability - The Challenge
A difficulty that many asset managers face when dealing with turbine availability is that there is not a single and standard method for calculating Turbine availability in the wind industry.
Between contractual and technical availability, time and energy-based calculations, “full-Period” and “wind-in-limits'' definitions, owners and operators are left with (too) many values and indicators that can be dependent on the manufacturer, turbine model, country, data availability… This lack of standardisation complicates asset managers' work as it becomes more difficult to draw clear conclusions from the data available.
In addition, asset managers are often overwhelmed by the amount of information that is relayed by their wind farms: having a clear understanding of the status of their turbines as well as the root causes of any production loss is necessary, especially when speaking about turbine availability.
Turbine Availability - The Windfit Approach
At Sereema, we understand the importance of providing asset managers and operators with the best solutions and tools to monitor and improve the operation of their wind turbines.
With that in mind, we have developed a new way to look at the production of wind assets based on the root-cause analysis of the different energy losses that can impact a wind farm: the combination of SCADA and Windfit data allows not only to know if losses are occurring but to discern the reasons behind them and how to improve on them.
With the ease of a click, asset managers have access to standard time and energy availability losses on Turbine, Farm, and Fleet levels going from high-level results down to detailed information on what might be causing the lack of availability.
Key Takeaways for Prioritising Turbine Availability
Wind farm operators and asset managers must prioritise turbine availability to maximise energy production and revenue. The lack of standardisation in the wind industry makes managing turbine availability a challenge, but solutions like Sereema's Windfit can help.
Windfit provides standardised time and energy availability losses on turbine, farm, and fleet levels, with detailed root-cause analysis. By using our fully automated and standardised solutions, asset managers can focus on continuous improvement and ensure the long-term efficiency, productivity, and profitability of their wind farms.
To learn more about our approach and how it can benefit your business, feel free to contact us.