Predictive maintenance in wind farms is becoming increasingly important because of several reasons, including the following:
RISE IN WIND ENERGY
Wind energy is playing an increasingly important role in the generation of electric energy, and thanks to predictive maintenance it is possible to guarantee the maximum availability of wind turbines.
AGEING OF WIND FARMS
At present, wind farms are still relatively young and their availability is high. But with the passing of time and the ageing of the machines the rate of faults and the unavailability of resources will increase. Predictive maintenance can help to maintain high wind resource availability levels.
CONSOLIDATION OF OFFSHORE TECHNOLOGY
The technical solutions being found for the installation of sea-based wind farms keep improving. Several projects are being developed in Europe with that objective in mind; examples are HYWIND in Norway and ZEFIR in Tarragona.
Therefore, the evolution of these sea-based farms will make the incorporation of predictive maintenance techniques in the wind turbine and, more specifically, in the electric generator, indispensable. That will make it possible to control and programme the maintenance operations and, like that, minimise the exploitation costs of offshore wind farms. Offshore maintenance operations are very costly.