Saturday, August 31, 2013

Remote Monitoring Necessary For Large Wind Farms

The wind turbine industry realized that if utility-scale wind power plants comprised of 200 turbines spread out over 4,000 acres of land, you're going to need some sort of technology that can monitor absolutely every aspect of operation of the turbine remotely.  Clearly the economics of having people climb 400 feet off the ground to do this kind of monitoring would never work.

Every original equipment manufacturer offers some sort of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system with its turbine. The job of the SCADA is to continuously monitor the temperatures and production of a wind turbine and discover potential problems before they become large failures.

While sending workers to the top of a wind turbine may be the most
obvious solution to looking at a problem, it's rarely the
 safest or most efficient method. Photo courtesy of Alstom.

Unlike a fossil fuel-fired power plant, wind power projects do not typically have an on-site staff on a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week basis. For wind power projects, the first line of defense may be on the site or hundreds of miles away.

Allowing the operator to see the performance of a part being monitored over a longer period of time allows the company to prioritize when maintenance is done on a particular turbine in order to avoid an alarm state that could shut the turbine down.  (Power Engineering, August 2013)

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