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Wind Power LAB launch lightning surveillance technology - reducing wind turbine repair costs and operational downtime by more than 40%


16 May 2024

Photo - see caption

Reducing wind turbine repair costs and operational downtime by more than 40%

Danish-based Wind Power LAB (WPL) have launched an innovative lightning surveillance tool tailored to combat strike damages to wind farms through early detection of potential risk.

The new Lightning Analysis Service, known as LASSIE, offers major cost savings in excess of 40% because repairs are identified earlier than expected, through the use of the technology-based monitoring tool.

Lightning strikes and the growing severity of damage are posing increasing risks for windfarm operations According to statistical data, lightning strikes account for more than 60% of meteorological accidents in wind farms(1). For modern blades with increased carbon re-enforcement, there will be an increased risk of lightning damage rapidly progressing.

But through early detection of potential lightning impacts, wind farm owners and operators can ensure the efficient use of field resources to prioritise repairs. This subsequently avoids significant cost escalation, such as unnecessary labour and materials, and potential catastrophic blade failure through non-detection.

LASSIE, which is cloud based and non-intrusive with no turbine installation, enables proactive management of wind farms by prioritising intervention for turbines in high-risk areas for lightning strikes. As a result, the cost savings reduce lost production days by an average of 43% and allow for targeted external blade inspections.

Photo - see caption
Example of turbine damage caused by lightning

Anders Røpke, WPL’s chief executive officer at  and founder, said: 'Damage is often only found during yearly inspections which can lead to more costly repairs due to delayed reaction. Damage can also propagate over many months before being acknowledged'.

'Understanding exactly which turbines to inspect, when and how, is key. WPL’s experts have created an automatic rules-based notice system and dashboard that pairs lightning and blade knowledge for actionable insights. Market-leading remote sensing data drives the system, which is backed by WPL’s intelligence and development, helping to pinpoint which turbines to inspect for damage.'

LASSIE was developed by WPL and features a proprietary algorithm which combines multiple data points from weather reporting systems. It also incorporates International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards for electrotechnology compliance and Wind Power LAB’s rotor blade subject matter expertise.

Røpke said: 'Recent trials of LASSIE, conducted over an eight-month period, recorded 98% lightning strike activity across a singular wind farm. The analysis of all structural damage also found that lightning, ice throw and high wind gust cause a 50% baseline of blade damages.

'In one client trial of LASSIE, the yearly cost savings were estimated to be $2.7million (€2.50 million / £2.15 million) from avoided damage progression. This underlines how the tool can support wind turbine owners and asset managers in developing the prudent operator mindset required to ensure efficient repairs, quick responses and avoid lost production days.'

(1) The source of the statistic referenced is from an energy report published on ScienceDirect, a widely-respected source of scientific and technical research - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352484723008247

Source: Wind Power LAB





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