ARE MONITORING SYSTEMS THE FUTURE OF O&M?
Monitoring systems have been utilized by offshore wind facilities in the United Kingdom for years. Strain gauges, accelerometers and other sensors are programmed to monitor loads, vibration, fatigue stress, temperature and corrosion, enabling turbine owners, investors and operations managers to systematically evaluate and assess the health and the condition of structures and cables. These condition monitoring systems provide early warnings of possible failure, giving key stakeholders an opportunity to take quick action and avoid the high costs of repair and retro-fit.
Domestic wind project owners and operators can learn a lot from these early adopters as there is a clear business case for the implementation of monitoring systems here in the United States. Thermal monitoring systems can be used on existing wind power facilities to analyze collection systems, detect failing assets, verify geotechnical engineering and provide financial due diligence support. On new projects, they can optimize the size of collection system conductor and verify warranties postconstruction.
NOT ALL SYSTEMS ARE CREATED EQUAL
Not all monitoring systems are equal, so it is important to compare the different features before investing in this sophisticated technology.
Conventional temperature control systems have significant limitations with respect to speed, accuracy and resolution of monitoring. That’s because they only capture data gathered from individual sensors and gauges, measure single values at specific locations and take measurements at pre-determined points.