25 Oct 2022
25 Oct 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal WES.

From wind conditions to operational strategy: Optimal planning of wind turbine damage progression over its lifetime

Niklas Requate1, Tobias Meyer1, and Rene Hofmann2 Niklas Requate et al.
  • 1Fraunhofer IWES, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2TU Wien, Vienna, Austria

Abstract. Renewable energies have an entirely different cost structure than fossil fuel-based electricity generation. This is mainly due to the operation at zero marginal cost, whereas for fossil fuel plants, the fuel itself is a major driver of the entire cost of energy. For a wind turbine, most of the materials and resources are spent up front. Over its lifetime, this initial capital and material investment is converted into usable energy. Therefore, it is desirable to gain the maximum benefit from the utilized materials for each individual turbine over its entire operating lifetime. Material usage is closely linked to individual damage progression of various turbine components and their respective failure modes.

Within this work, we present a novel approach for an optimal long-term planning of the operation of wind energy systems over their entire lifetime. It is based on a process for setting up a mathematical optimization problem that optimally distributes the available damage budget of a given failure mode over the entire lifetime. The complete process ranges from an adaptation of real-time wind turbine control to the evaluation of long-term goals and requirements. During this process, relevant deterministic external conditions and real-time controller setpoints influence the damage progression with equal importance. Finally, the selection of optimal planning strategies is based on an economic evaluation. The method is applied to an example for demonstration. It shows the high potential of the approach for an effective damage reduction on different use cases. The focus of the example is to effectively reduce power of a turbine under conditions where high loads are induced from wake-induced turbulence of neighbouring turbines. Through the optimization approach, the damage budget can be saved or spent under conditions where it pays off most in the long-term perspective. This way, it is possible to gain more energy from a given system and thus to reduce cost and ecological impact by a better usage of materials.

Niklas Requate et al.

Status: open (extended)

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Niklas Requate et al.

Niklas Requate et al.


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Short summary
Wind turbines produce energy over lifetime of at least 20 years and they are designed to withstand the induced loads from the environment. During that long operating time, we cannot avoid inducing damage to a turbine and using up the utilized materials. To gain maximum benefit from the material of each turbine, we developed a method, which makes best use of their given design damage budget by optimally distributing its usage over operating time. An operational plan is optimized to do so.