While wind energy costs approach grid parity, Andreas Makris, Greek expert from the Windtrust project, asserts in an interview that these costs could fall even more by improving the reliability of key turbine components.
In the case of wind power, operational and maintenance costs make energy more expensive and this issue is particularly acute for offshore wind farms. To tackle this challenge, Windtrust partners have worked on innovative solutions to increase the durability and the reliability of wind turbines’ components. The technologies developed in the framework of the project include a new erosion protection system for wind turbines’ blades as well as a more reliable power module.
The use of these upgraded components should reduce the amount of repair work and down time and thus result in lower wind energy costs. “The total reduction of the wind energy LCOE [overall cost of electricity] […] could theoretically range between 14% and 22%” says Andreas Makris, research engineer working for Greece’s national Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving.
To ensure a complete acknowledgement of the variation in climatic conditions on wind energy costs, the technologies developed by Windtrust have been tested in a wide range of terrains across Europe. In each of these places, the solutions devised by researchers have been proved profitable.
Final testing and validation of the project’s results will take place in September 2016 in Spain, allowing Windtrust’s industrial partners to implement the solutions developed at a larger scale. Thanks to the innovative technologies designed within the project, operation and maintenance costs should be greatly reduced in the coming years.
For more information, visit the Windtrust website.