When is lifetime extension worthwhile?
Assessments and analyses for lifetime extension of wind turbines
There’s a sizeable wave rolling in towards the wind energy industry: this year, in Europe alone, more than ten percent of installed capacity will be reaching its 20th year of operation, and by 2025, the figure will be almost 30 percent. To keep them running or not, this is the question faced by more and more operators who are thinking about lifetime extensions for their turbines that go beyond the end of their 20-year design life.
With the constant annual growth in the number of renewable energy systems installed worldwide, there comes an increase in the average age of turbines in operation. Taking technical development into account, this now includes turbines up to the performance area of one or two megawatts, which are gradually coming to the end of their design life.
For many of these turbines, experience shows that they can continue being operated safely and economically, even after they reach the end of their planned service life. There are several possible options: repowering, lifetime extension, sale or even dismantling the entire turbine.