Power & Energy Solutions

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Blade leading edge erosion: damage limitation, containment and prevention

Following the recent news, widely published in the industry and national press regarding a number of offshore wind farms, it seems that last year’s end of warranty inspections highlighted unprecedented amounts of offshore wind turbine, blade leading edge erosion, across several offshore wind farms in Europe. As the offshore wind industry enters the 2018 season blade repair campaigns, there is much to be considered. Early intervention is imperative for the quality and longevity of repairs. PES asked WTG to give us their view on this problem.

It is an issue the industry has long been aware of and there are many initiatives in place looking to tackle the issue, such as the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s Blade Leading Edge Erosion Programme. Is this the Benchmark for future blade inspection and Integrity management during warranty?

The following extract applies:

If the expected lifetime of the surface coating is less than the lifetime of the blade, suitable inspection and maintenance intervals should be specified.

Inspection and maintenance intervals shall be planned to provide adequate assurance that no significant deterioration in the condition of the installation may arise in the interval. The design should take into account the practicability of carrying out inspections of relevant components or systems. Where inspection is not practicable, the component or system shall be designed and manufactured in a way that adequate durability for the entire operating life of the wind turbine is assured.

However, the following questions may be critical in ensuring the successful, efficient and effective execution of these leading edge repair campaigns.

• Are your minor blade erosion damages currently getting bigger?

• Are programmed repairs taking longer than expected due to further degradation?

• Would the ability to change from reactive to preventative repairs enable you to plan and prepare resources for the repair campaign better.

• Are your assets blades affected by leading edge erosion continuing to further degrade whilst awaiting repairs?

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