An Innovative type of Wind Turbine Works Famously Offshore

An Innovative type of Wind Turbine Works Famously OffshoreThere is a great wind potential at sea, but the offshore environment poses a great challenge. An innovative kind of wind turbines is expected to conquer the challenges to offshore wind turbines.

Wind power at sea has the latent possibility to surmount some of the shortcomings of onshore wind power. These include a more consistent and higher wind speed, availability of space, and absence of concerns with regards to noise. It also reduces or do away with the “not in my backyard” concern since there is no backyard to speak of in an offshore wind farm, although there too are issues with the visual impact of offshore wind farms.

The greatest of all challenges is the unforgiving maritime environment. Anybody who owns a boat recognizes the punishing effect of the sea to mechanical equipment. There is a very high likelihood of extreme weather condition and with it comes the threat of damaging the turbines. There is also a need to power down the turbines frequently if they are generating excess power for the grid. Being out at sea, installation of offshore wind farms is also rather more complicated, and so is their maintenance.

The new offshore wind farm

In the UK, as the country continues its tremendous impetus for offshore wind power by extending the 172 MW Gunfleet Sands offshore wind farm for the third time, it is also investigating a technology that could considerably make the cost benefit equation of generating offshore wind power better.

Here’s the press release from the Department of Energy and Climate Change for the announcement of the new turbine installation:

“Energy Minister Greg Barker today opened a new extension to the Gunfleet Sands offshore wind farm that will see the first demonstration in UK waters of the next generation of offshore wind turbines. The turbines, made by Siemens, and installed by DONG Energy, have been deliberately designed to be used at sea and have the potential to significantly cut the cost of producing renewable energy from offshore wind. Many turbines currently installed off the UK coastline are variations on turbines designed for use onshore. The new generation used at Gunfleet Sands will be more cost-effective and efficient – improving the UK’s energy security and increasing the amount of energy generated from renewable’s.”

Advantages of the new offshore wind turbine:

Higher output

These turbines generate a 6megawatt output per turbine, an output that’s a lot better than loads of onshore turbines. This points out to one of the chief advantages of offshore wind farms. There’s no place onshore where a 6MW wind turbine can be installed without major repercussion.

Lower cost

However, it’s not only the improved power capacity that makes offshore wind turbine a winner. Siemens hopes that the inner workings of the turbine will bring down cost and ensure the commercial viability of offshore wind power. In place of the customary high speed generator, gearbox and main shaft, the 6megawatt turbines has a low-speed, direct drive generator with its moving parts 50{82e5879b62f9f0cbb622da6aeaafa5e16d37c32fcd77ff762e12cec7a1007225} fewer than its counterpart with gears.

The simplified mechanism necessitates less maintenance which is a big deal if your turbines are out at sea. Siemens also said that the turbines also allow for an onshore assembly and pre-commissioning which reduces cost considerably.

Responsive operation and monitoring

These innovative offshore wind turbines feature an advanced monitoring device that communicate all information such as the condition of its mechanical parts and weather condition and then fine-tune its operations as needed. Instead of closing down when power output and wind speed are too high, the turbines employ HWRT (High Wind Ride Through) and TLC (Turbine Load Control) to control the output when the loads go beyond the standard values.

Testing has already been done on the turbines to ensure that it will work and endure under maritime conditions. An accelerated lifetime test which is a simulation of 25 years of operation broken down in 3-to-6 month period has been used to test the machines. But it is in the actual operation that the turbines will be judged.

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