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Life extension for wind turbine structures and foundations

Rubert, T. and Niewczas, P. and McMillan, D. (2016) Life extension for wind turbine structures and foundations. In: International Conference on Offshore Renewable Energy 2016, 2016-09-12 - 2016-09-14, Thistle Glasgow City Hotel. (In Press)

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Abstract

This paper presents economic life extension scenarios for wind turbines as well as complimentary structural health monitoring of turbine foundations based on an advanced optical sensor network. Demand for this is driven by an ageing asset base and the overall reduction in governmental support towards wind energy in Europe, despite the agreed 2020 and extended 2030 renewable energy targets. Consequently, this paper displays early work on economic evaluation of levelised cost of energy (LCOE) under simple life extension scenarios and concludes that reductions within the order of 5% of LCOE can be achieved by extending a turbine’s lifetime by up to 15 years. At the same time, an ongoing project is presented that aims to apply structural health monitoring to a wind turbine foundation aimed at providing operational load data that can justify or dictate lifetime extension of a wind turbine foundation.