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Wind Power O&M Strategies

Featuring the key operations and maintenance (O&M) strategies for wind turbines

T oday India is the biggest greenhouse gas emitter after the US and China. Currently renewable energy accounts for about only 16 per cent of the total installed capacity of 315,426 MW. With the aim of achieving 40 per cent of its electricity generation capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030, the country is setting ambitious targets.

The government plans to achieve 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 which includes 60 GW from wind power, 100 GW from solar power, 10 GW from biomass and 5 GW from small hydro projects. Of late, it has been reported that India plans auctions for 4 GW of wind power during the current fiscal i.e. 2017-18.

Recent achievements
During 2016-17, India added a record 5,400 MW of wind power against the target of 4000 MW. This year’s achievement surpassed the previous higher capacity addition of 3,423MW achieved in the previous year.

The leading States in the wind power capacity addition during 2016-17 are Andhra Pradesh 2190 MW, followed by Gujarat 1275 MW and Karnataka 882 MW.

In addition Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Telangana and Kerala have reported 357 MW, 288 MW, 262 MW, 118 MW, 23 MW and 8 MW wind power capacity addition respectively during the same period.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has taken various policy initiatives in the wind energy sector during 2016-17 that includes introduction of bidding in wind energy sector, re-powering policy, draft wind-solar hybrid policy, new guidelines for development of wind power projects, etc.

Further, wind power tariff dropped to a record low of Rs 3.46 per unit in an auction of 1,000 MW capacity conducted by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).

“After solar cost reduction below Rs 3/unit, wind power cost down to Rs 3.46/unit through transparent auction. A green future awaits India,” Piyush Goyal, Minister of Power, Coal and Renewable Energy tweeted.

Recent project developments
Recently, Aluminium PSU National Aluminium Company (Nalco) has inaugurated 100.80 MW of wind power plants in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Suzlon Group has installed and commissioned two renewable projects of 50.40 MW each for Nalco at Gondikota in Andhra Pradesh and Jath in Maharashtra. Both the projects have the potential to provide power to over 54,000 households and reduce 0.20 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum.

In another development, state-run THDC India (THDCIL) has commissioned its second wind power project having capacity of 63 MW in Devbhumi Dwarka district in Gujarat on 31st March.

This 63 MW wind power project awarded to Suzlon Energy Ltd on 28th November 2016 with scheduled commissioning period of 4 months was actually implemented and commissioned in a record period of 3 months after obtaining developer permission and transfer permission from Gujarat government in December 2016, THDCIL said in a statement.

With the commissioning of this project, the THDCIL has become entitled to receive generation based incentive (GBI) of Rs 63 crore from the Centre.

O&M strategies
In India, as wind is being considered as one of the key resources for power generation, the subject of wind turbine maintenance is becoming increasingly important to maximise turbine availability. Report suggests that operation and maintenance (O&M) costs of a wind turbine may go up to 25 per cent of the total levelised cost per kWh produced over the lifetime of the turbine. It is therefore critical to strategise O&M of the wind turbines well.

Explaining the importance of O&M strategies, Narendra Somoshi, Vice President, Head – O&M, Inox Wind Ltd, said, “O&M is the gamut of entire asset management of wind power plant to provide safe and secure net to the customer’s assets. O&M is a financial perspective with optimising costs, improving reliability of the wind power plant and maximisation of yield by implementing O&M strategies and using IT and data analytics.”

Wind power plant mainly consists of wind turbine generators (WTGs), high tension lines, metering, substation and EHV lines. Main components of WTGs are tower, nacelle, hub, blade and electric cabinets.

Somoshi outlines the key O&M strategies as follows:
Operations Management

  • Handing over and taking over of wind farms from projects.
  • Optimum resource management like manpower, material, media, method and money.
  • Setting Smart KPIs.
  • Implementation EHS systems.
  • 24×7 dedicated on-site O&M team to ensure every possible yield.
  • Cleanliness and 5S – upkeep and maintenance of evacuation facilities.
  • Liaison with nodal agencies for JMR, billing and invoices.
  • Extending support for CDM audit or validation.
  • Web based customer portal for wind farm performance reporting.

Maintenance Management
Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM) is an advanced strategy used to optimise reliability, production, and asset life for wind farm. RCM emphasises the use of Predictive Testing and Inspection (PT&I) techniques in combination with traditional reactive, preventive, and proactive measures to determine the optimum tasks based on the consequences, costs, and safety risk. Maintainability (MTTR) and Reliability (MTBF) can be determined accordingly.

Analytics & IT Enabled systems: Performance optimisation by real time monitoring and predictive tools. By using real time data, total energy output of wind farms can be boosted. It predicts potential failures before they happen. They match real -time data against historical data to determine which parts need adjustments or replacements, significantly reducing downtime. Lost production hours and taking immediate and proactive steps. Technical analytics – for reducing breakdowns, spares consumption by sing DMAIC or 7 different QC tools.

Learning and development: Skill enhancement of employees and involvement of team for getting ideas and suggestions for improvements.

Spares & Inventory Management: Inventory levels should be decided on specific material management – using ABC, VED, SDE analysis and warranty management.

Dr Sanjiv Kawishwar, Senior Vice President at ReGen Powertech Pvt Ltd explained the O&M strategies for wind turbines as follows:

  • O&M requirement are beautifully crafted in wind turbine type certification schemes.
  • Optimal performance of wind turbine throughout the lifecycle with appropriate operation and maintenance is the key element of design process and strategies are established as well as extensively assessed as a part of mandatory design certification.
  • Development of a detailed O&M manual of new wind turbine is a requirement for design certification and therefore all strategies are made consistent with the aforementioned manual.
    Long- and short-term strategies must be focussed to achieve optimum generation and enhancement of productivity.
  • Appropriate plans on the basis of component manuals as well as wind turbine designer recommendation must be implemented.
  • O&M certification according to type certification standards are issued by accredited certification bodies and organisation must go for the certification.
  • Type approval schemes include certification for performance of service activity in wind energy industry as well as certification standards for training in renewable industry. These standards must be implemented.
  • Implementation of ‘Energy management systems based on ISO 50001 standards’ or enhancement of renewable energy (RE) efficiency using ISO 13273 will help industry to optimise generation with least maintenance.
  • Conclusion
    As the recent crash of wind power tariff to 3.46/kWhr surprised many, experts cautioned that aggressive bidding in such capital intensive infrastructure projects may result in low-cost funding in operation and maintenance (O&M) of the wind turbines.

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