Lowering the levelized cost of energy of your wind farm

Focus on wind farm O&M strategies is a critical factor in meeting levelized cost of energy targets

The wind industry has grown to a current total capacity of over 370 GW (gigawatts) worldwide. The wealth of operational experience gained from maintaining this large installed base of wind turbines has resulted in wind farm owners placing an increasing focus on life cycle services and O&M (operation & maintenance) strategies to maintain their assets in the most efficient and profitable manner. Most importantly there is a growing realization that simply specifying components and systems with high quality and performance at a cost-effective-price is not sufficient for wind farm operators to meet their levelized cost of energy (LCoE) targets – which provide a measure of the overall competiveness of different generating technologies. The only way to achieve these LCoE targets is to integrate O&M strategies right from the outset of the overall wind farm design and development process.

Since the converter is a critical part of a wind turbine, ABB pays special attention to its reliability, ease of maintenance and troubleshooting. To increase reliability and turbine uptime and reduce O&M costs, we consider the entire life cycle of the wind turbine converter, starting from the development phase, through to system design, installation, commissioning, training and support.

To speed up support and troubleshooting for wind turbine converters – which naturally reduces downtime, ABB has developed a suite of support and remote service tools. This suite comprises three main elements:

• an intelligent monitoring tool that allows ABB service engineers and authorized customers to monitor wind turbine converters remotely, identify possible performance issues at an early stage and initiate service tasks
• a support line, an online ticketing system, which allows tracking of service requests, related findings and the status of implemented corrective actions
• a life cycle database with provides customers with all relevant information on their wind turbine converters available at their fingertips.

While this suite was developed originally for our own internal use, ABB is now giving trained and authorized customers access to these tools so that they get the full benefit of our O&M expertise.

These tools are closely linked with our 8D (Eight Disciplines) quality process that we adopted from the automotive industry, where it is used to continuously improve products. For each problem, ABB analyzes the root cause and develops and implements actions to eliminate it. This process guarantees that each root cause analysis contributes to continuous product improvement.

Collectively, our support and remote service tools significantly enhance the performance and availability of our wind turbine converters, reducing unplanned downtime, optimizing O&M costs and helping customers meet their LCoE targets.

Please visit us at EWEA in Paris, November 17 to 20, 2015 (ABB at EWEA Annual Event 2015, Stand H11.) We look forward to discussing some of the ways we can help you reduce the LCoE of your wind farm.

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About the author

Marco Thoma

I'm Head of Global Sales and Marketing for Medium Voltage Converters used in wind turbines. I have been active in the converter business since 2001 in different areas of engineering, product development, operations and now marketing and sales. My background is electrical engineering and business administration (MBA). I like the challenges in the wind industry and the influence we have together with our customers to change the world and ensure that our kids can live the same good life as we do.
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