If you are operating wind turbines then it is imperative to survey their operational power curves on a regular basis. This work can be subcontracted to Wind Farm Analytics who have years of experience and can be trusted to spot abnormalities, underperformance and unexpected changes in performance which occur much more often than expected.
Many turbines are supplied with a power performance warranty and it makes sense to check whether you have a claim. The first step is to check the SCADA power curves of your turbines. If there are signs of underperformance then there are methods by which to cross check this signal and gain confidence that the underperformance is genuine rather than a false alarm. Information can also be gathered on the reasons for the underperformance. These investigations will decide whether there is a sufficient case for a power performance warranty claim according to IEC61400-12-1 or as specified in the contract. When faced with evidence it is possible that wind turbine suppliers will settle the claim without need for disputes whose costs may reside with the supplier.
But the possibility of a performance warranty claim is actually a very small part of power curve analysis. Much more important than any warranty claim would be the possbility to improve the performance of your operational wind turbines for their remaining operational lifetime also beyond the warranty period. Power curve reviews allow the identification of suspect turbines. This enables the focus of root cause analysis in order to establish the reason for underperformance, as well as estimating the financial impact of the underperformance. Knowing the reason for underperformance allows for the possibility of rectifying the underperformance and installing management controls to avoid the same fault occurring in future, either on the same turbine or perhaps on many other similar turbines in a wider fleet.
- supposedly identical wind turbines can be seen to have significantly different power curves
- power curve analysis can identify the existence of unwarranted or faulty curtailment which can persist for years if unchecked
- power curve analysis can identify wind turbines with faulty parameter settings
- power curve analysis can identify severe underperformance, the idea being that knowing of underperformance will allow you to do something about it
- power curve analysis can sometimes identify significant over performance (maybe those turbines are capable of more than you think!) but in case your machines can operate in this mode then you need to weigh up the integrity risks of doing so
- power curve analysis can reveal the existence of unexpected and detrimental operational modes which are lowering the output of your fleet and can be a sign of threats to the integrity of your machines