Page 59 - North American Clean Energy March/April 2020 Issue
P. 59

                     real-time turbine diagnostics. These modern control systems also provide spare input/output channels to support integration of additional technologies as needed.
With Production Tax Credits heading toward their completion, and renewed focus on operating assets, it makes sense to focus on optimum strategies to breathe life into your older wind turbines, to help them achieve the extended life that was planned when they were installed. Modern controls solutions can help achieve these goals, while helping preserve O&M dollars for the long haul and keeping capital expenditures in check.
Nic Waters is a Key Account Manager for Bachmann electronic, a worldwide company specializing in smart, scalable wind turbine automation. Prior to joining the Bachmann, Nic worked in the area of research and development for a defense contractor specializing in structural health monitoring solutions.
Bachmann electronic /// www.bachmann.info
 option for addressing this issue. A smarter choice is a SCADA retrofit, with new turbine control software and hardware, which will provide complete access to
the turbine data and parameters in a customizable and flexible platform.
In their original state, some older turbines are also at a disadvantage when it comes to predictive maintenance; something that continues to become increasingly important. The inverse relationship between turbine age and drivetrain integrity has driven owners
to readily adopt condition monitoring technologies in order to catch mechanical issues early, and proactively intervene. Due to its cost effectiveness and straight forward implementation, temperature is a commonly used indicator of the presence of a mechanical fault. With no spare input/output channels available on some of these older turbines, something as simple as recording bearing temperatures, using a PT100 sensor, currently requires
a separate data acquisition system to record values (as well as additional communication infrastructure to support data transmission). This translates to an order of magnitude increase in the cost to implement such a solution.
For more comprehensive drivetrain coverage and earlier detection (3-6 months), online vibration condition monitoring systems (CMS) are the clear choice. Despite being able to deliver a return on investment within 2-3 years, the price of stand-alone CMS can range from $4,000-$10,000 per turbine, making the initial investment prohibitive. However, with modern control systems, CMS units can be integrated into the turbine PLC, providing a more economical alternative to the traditional systems, and opening the door to closed loop control based on
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