What is the future of wind turbine power?

Wind energy is one of the most rapidly growing technology for renewable energy. Usage is growing around the world, partially due to declining prices.

Wind power energy doubled between 2009-2013, while wind electricity generation accounted for 16% of clean energy production in 2016.

According to a new report from Navigant Research, the global wind power industry is expected to install more than 626,800 MW of new capacity over the next decade, representing a market worth more than $92 billion in 2019 and more than $1 trillion over the forecast decade.

Drone industry is supporting companies efforts to reduce hazardous man-hours, reducing the cost of maintenance and inspections while minimizing downtime. Not only it offers operational efficiencies but have also a great chance for employment growth.

Installed capacity trends over years

Wind turbini capacity trends over years

How drones optimize wind farm operations?

Commercially available wind turbines have a reached 8MW capacity, with rotor diameters up to 164 meters and more, are easier to be approached for monitoring and maintenance by autonomous or remotely operated drones (UAV) with a high degree of precision compared to traditional methods. Another aspect is the cost, which is substantially lower with drones than manual climbing inspections.

The most commonly used wind turbine inspections have been a slow process that included lens inspection, lifting, or climbing. Today, the use of drones for wind turbine inspections is speeding up the process, making it both easier and safer. Due to the many advantages, drones are becoming the preferred method for wind turbine inspections.

How are drones impacting the wind industry?

The benefits of using drones over conventional rope access come with eliminating the risks where workers are suspended high above the ground from wind turbines. Why not use a camera-fitted drone to beam video to an expert inspector instead of a technician who scales the wind turbine?

The inspection time can be decreased by 70% with drone inspections, without the need to turn off the wind turbine for prolonged times compared with manual inspections.

Drones can be used to offer a full site evaluation or to inspect a single wind turbine. These drones equipped with high-performance cameras can examine a wind turbine without compromising a worker or needing access to the turbine.

Not only it reduces the hazards related to inspection and maintenance but also reduces the risk that the wind turbine will experience accidental damage.

UAV Access in hard-to-reach areas is easier, less costly and less dangerous while reducing downtime.

These factors are saving money while eliminating the risk on workers in potentially dangerous locations.

Wind Farm on a beach

Drones produce better data with high-resolution imagery

In addition to minimizing staff safety risk, drones produce high-resolution images of the areas that climbers cannot access or see with the human eye. Drones can capture images of the wind turbines from any angle and area, including those which an individual could not reach.

The extremely precise high-resolution images and videos are being recorded to help diagnose and identify problems.

Compared to traditional methods, a technician can only examine and identify what they can see when inspecting the wind turbine, which can let room for errors or missing uninspected areas.

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Inspecting majority of issues:

  • Internal damages

  • Delamination

  • Bad bonding

  • Resin gaps

  • Core defects

  • Lightning Strike / Flashover

  • Material problems

Next level reporting:

  • Ability to see what the human eye can’t, using thermal cameras to scan large areas (rotor blade)

  • Detection of hidden defects and failures, sub-structural fault clarity

  • Examination of abnormalities, erosion and corrosion

  • Direct optical image comparison

What drone services can you benefit from in a wind farm inspection?

  • Visual inspections with drones high-resolution cameras

  • Thermal imagery can be used to assist wind turbine inspection and tracking

  • Quicker, Less cost & better data

  • Drones collect smarter data required to recognise and mitigate risks, increasing revenue

  • Non-contact and non-destructive inspection methods

  • Most successful drone inspections minimize man-hours and expenses

  • Performance improves because of the precision and durability of the results

  • Images and videos can be sent to the ground control station for real-time transmission

  • Structured data, organized and stored in a secured platform where you can access it any time and track changes over time

Drone benefits for wind turbine inspection
Wind Turbine Inspection Service

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