Monitoring offshore wind farms in the North Sea

Thursday, 31 March, 2016 - 12:45
Global Tech I, an offshore wind farm with 400 MW capacity, whose 80 turbines are monitored using Bachmann systems. (Photo: Global Tech I / Henthorn)
Global Tech I, an offshore wind farm with 400 MW capacity, whose 80 turbines are monitored using Bachmann systems. (Photo: Global Tech I / Henthorn)

More wind turbines in the North and Baltic Seas were connected to the grid in 2015 than ever before. For this reason, it is becoming increasingly important to be able to detect malfunctions and plan maintenance work on offshore wind farms as early as possible.  

In 2015, 546 wind turbines were connected to the grid in the North and Baltic Seas. This is the highest number to date. At the end of 2014, there were 246 wind turbines installed in those areas. That number has now risen to 792 offshore installations with a total capacity of 3,294 MW and an annual power output of more than 8 TWh. It is becoming increasingly important to be able to detect turbine malfunctions and schedule maintenance work at an early stage.

The more wind turbines are used to cover the demand for electricity, the more important it becomes to prevent downtime through measures such as condition monitoring.

"Offshore wind turbines are typically difficult to access. For this reason, maintenance needs to be carefully planned," said Holger Fritsch, managing director of Bachmann, which manufactures condition monitoring systems. "It is therefore a logical step to equip major offshore wind farms such as Global Tech I and Trianel Borkum with condition monitoring systems to prevent costly downtime and unnecessary maintenance costs."

In order to achieve this, the condition of a wind turbine is checked either continuously or at regular intervals by the CMS, and data on vibrations, temperature or particles detected in the transmission oil is relayed to an external site.

Bachmann Monitoring GmbH (BAM) states that it monitors approximately 22% of the offshore wind turbines that were newly installed in Germany in 2015. This includes the 80 turbines installed at the offshore wind farm Global Tech I, which is one of Germany's largest wind farms and has an output of 400 MW. BAM is planning to expand its monitoring capabilities in 2016 in areas such as drive train monitoring and structure monitoring.

Tanja Peschel / Bachmann Monitoring GmbH

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