24 February 2015
Equipping older turbines with modern control systems can significantly improve power production while supporting remote monitoring, control and root cause analysis.
Eight months after partnering with a customer to develop retrofit solutions for Vestas V47 and Bonus 1.3 MW turbines, new control systems are now commissioned and operating on site in the USA.
The project shows that both the power curve and availability has improved. Additionally, the modern, sixth generation control systems provides the turbine owner with upgraded data access and remote control.
“In older wind turbines it is common that some faults occur periodically. Lacking access to data and opportunities to implement changes, owners and maintenance crews often are not able to perform root cause analyses, and have to use simple, reactive workaround procedures, which is often more costly,” explains KK Wind Solutions CTO René Balle.
With the roll-out of a retrofit solution to multiple sites, the common faults can be found and the root cause can be fixed on all sites. Typically this can be done by a simple, remote software update.
“We carried out a thorough root cause analysis into why the number of yaw motor errors was high on the Bonus 1.3MW turbine. This resulted in a software change which halved the yaw activity from 165,000 starts per year in the original control system, without any penalty of additional yaw misalignment. This means less wear and tear and hence longer lifetime of the components,” says René Balle.
Another frequent fault is related to pitching. The original pitch control electronics were first-generation technology which has led to pitch tracking errors and consequently reduced availability. With the retrofit solution, more than 90% of the pitch tracking errors have been eliminated.
Hitting return on investment
KK Wind Solutions recently presented the results from the retrofit projects to an audience of 300 at AWEA’s O&M and Safety Seminar in San Diego. A key point was that the payback time on the investment is often relatively short.
“Even though many long-term benefits from less maintenance and fewer spare parts are needed are difficult to estimate, it has been possible for KK Wind Solutions to provide customers with a positive business case with payback in less than three years,” states Niels Kaas Christensen, Sales Manager in KK Wind Solutions.
Find out your return on investment
If you have Bonus 1.3 MW or Vestas V47-660kW turbines in your fleet, we can make a fast return on investment calculation based on your variables. Our Business Case Generator is based on proven performance data related to for instance fault elimination and calculation of O&M cost reductions.
Drop by our stand at C1-B36 at EWEA Offshore in Copenhagen throughout the conference, or join the expert presentation March 11 at 10.30am about Retrofit.
Making the case for retrofitting wind turbine control systems