26 Oct 2022

Fast Response Minimises Wind Farm Downtime

Wind power in Scotland is still one of the fastest-growing renewable energy technologies, with over 9,300 Megawatts of installed capacity reported as of June 2020, the vast majority being onshore. When looking at the whole of the UK, there are roughly 8,600 commissioned onshore wind turbines and 2,300 offshore turbines, but one of the lesser reported statistics is that many of the current turbines are well into their lifecycle. A recent report estimated that around 240 older and typically smaller, less productive turbines will be taken out of service every year between now and 2050.

Ongoing reliability is also an issue, so maintaining the network of turbines and support infrastructure is becoming increasingly demanding as components and systems gradually wear out. This is why more inspection and preventative maintenance is needed. One of the wind farms in Aberdeenshire, for example, recently had a particular problem with a Schneider NS800 circuit breaker malfunctioning, and as the wind turbine breaker would not work automatically, it resulted in the wind farm going offline.

Quartzelec quickly sent a qualified engineer to the remote site, where a full test on the circuit breaker was carried out. The motor mechanism was found to have burnt out, but fortunately, the client had a spare motor mechanism in stock which meant a replacement could be carried out immediately. The system was then fully tested, ensuring the circuit breaker was again running correctly in automatic mode, enabling the wind farm to return to being fully operational.

“With ageing equipment becoming far more common across the renewable energy sector, our expertise, combined with being on-hand to promptly respond to incidents as they occur, means that faults can be prioritised and sorted without delay,” stated Colin Nicol, one of Quartzelec’s Regional Sales Engineers. “Our primary focus is on reducing downtime and getting a wind farm, or any other LV or HV operation, back online as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, whilst keeping lost production to a minimum.”