Wind Turbine Monitoring

Wind farms need to be aware of every wind turbine throughout the operation in order to maintain profitability, efficiency, and prevent shutdowns.There are a range of technologies that enable wind turbine monitoring, including digital twins, IoT sensors, and various analytics tools. These evolving technologies allow for a granular understanding of the health of each turbine to prevent costly wind turbine issues.

What is Wind Turbine Monitoring?

Wind turbine monitoring is the process of staying aware of the status and health of every wind turbine in a wind farm. Turbine monitoring leverages a range of technologies to meet the end goal, and new developments provide more effective methods for monitoring individual aspects of every turbine.

Digital twin software enabled by autonomous drone data capture has simplified inspecting wind turbines by removing the need for riskier rope inspections and piloted drones. Now, inspections can be conducted by initiating the drones autonomously and then reviewing and analyzing the data.

Monitoring has been crucial since the early days of wind farm management. Now, advanced technologies have made it possible to monitor critical aspects of each turbine to allow for a more cost-effective operation.

Vital Components of Wind Turbine Monitoring

Wind turbines require multiple systems operating with optimal efficiency for the optimal power output of the entire machine. These systems each need to be monitored and inspected to prevent premature deterioration, suboptimal output, or complete shutdowns. These systems include:

  • Condition monitoring:Wind turbine condition monitoring focuses on detecting any changes to the turbine as early as possible. The purpose of condition monitoring is to identify any issues that may affect performance, which in turn affects operational costs. Condition monitoring is achieved by using a variety of sensors, including accelerometers, temperature sensors, and pressure sensors.
  • Structural health monitoring:The specific type of condition monitoring focusing on structural components is known as structural health monitoring, such as wind towers, blades, and foundations. Staying aware of these components is crucial to catching significant issues, which can include collapsing towers if left unchecked. Several sensors are gauges that must be monitored continuously to maintain the structural integrity of each turbine.

There are certainly more subcomponents and monitoring systems to explore, but these two overarching categories indicate how many individual sensors collect and transmit data to continuously monitor the health of the entire wind farm.

One of the more recent additions to wind farm monitoring is the use of digital twin software powered by autonomous drone data capture that allows for more frequent inspections of the entire turbine. Instead of requiring time-intensive rope inspections or manual piloting, an autonomous drone solution can inspect an entire wind farm with minimal guidance from a pilot or field operations specialist. This allows farms to have a better understanding of any potential issues that may result in shutdowns or collapses.

The latest advancements in IoT devices, digital twin software, and machine learning data analytics have enabled greater transparency into the entire operation. The result is a powerful wind turbine control system that enables the operating of a more cost-effective wind farm.