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Wind Energy Update: The role of sensors in wind turbine O&M

10 July 2015

17th February, 2014 

Sensors can greatly improve wind turbine operations and maintenance. Provided the sensors themselves do not break down, of course.

The information gleaned from sensors helps wind farm operators to plan ahead, providing an insight into parts and components that might be operating under stress and therefore likely to fail.

These parts can then be replaced ahead of time within routine maintenance schedules, reducing the likelihood of unforeseen failures and unplanned downtime. Equipping a turbine with a host of electronic sensors is not cheap, of course.

But the consequent reduction in operations and maintenance (O&M) costs more than justifies the investment, particularly for instance on offshore wind farms where a turbine failure could take days or weeks to solve because of adverse meteorological conditions.

And as sensor technology has become more commonplace in the largest and most expensive turbines, its value is starting to be appreciated even by the manufacturers of small-to-medium-sized turbine models. 

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