Unplanned Wind Turbine Repairs to Run Developers More than $8 Bn in 2019

Global onshore wind O&M costs will be $15 billion in 2019, of which $8.5 billion will be for unplanned repairs due to component failures, according to new research.

Wind Unplanned Repairs

Global onshore wind operation and maintenance (O&M) costs will reach nearly $15 billion in 2019. Of that number, 57% or $8.5 billion will be spent on unplanned wind turbine repairs and correctives caused by component failures, according to new research by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

Daniel Liu, Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables Principal Analyst, said, “Tender prices for new wind turbine developments are declining globally. This has sharpened the focus on operational expenditures for wind power plants and asset owners are searching for new solutions in an effort to reduce O&M costs. Unplanned failures can cost the asset owner as much as $30,000 per turbine per year in terms of repairs and spare parts and up to 7 days worth of lost production per year – not including production losses caused by pre-emptive shutdowns or long delivery times for materials, equipment and technicians to the affected turbine.”

As noted in the report, the evolution of digital technology has led to a proliferation of services across the O&M value chain, making digitalisation a valid way forward for O&M services. Remote monitoring and diagnostics tools used to identify turbine failures and provide turbine performance are widely used by most asset managers. Advanced digital technology, such as data analytics and machine learning allow more sophisticated asset management actions to provide end-to-end optimisation of maintenance costs, logistics and spares and energy production.

“For all the touted benefits offered by digital technology, adoption rates by asset owners are mixed. Many of the leading asset owners only deploy a basic form of digital technology and cases of full digital ecosystem deployment are rare,” Liu added.

Recently, Vestas enlisted Sulzer Schmid, a Swiss company pioneering UAV technology for rotor blade inspections and WKA, a leading blade inspection and repair service provider to conduct a massive drone-based blade inspection campaign in Scandinavia.

Mass deployment across the global turbine fleet will increase the value position of digital technologies.

“The onus, however, is on technology vendors to encourage uptake of more sophisticated digital technology beyond basic monitoring and production forecasting. Determining the right strategy to push digital technology uptake requires an understanding of asset owner needs and risk appetite. The future success of digital technology requires navigating the key hurdles for each stakeholder. OEMs, technology developers and asset owners have specific needs and service strategy requirements, which hinder uptake of digital technology. The issues of development, operational, and financial risk can only be solved by full stakeholder engagement with all parties,” added Liu.

Ayush Verma

Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.

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