On the 8-9th of April 2008, the Wind Energy Conference 2008 was held about how to build a sustainable Wind Industry in New Zealand. SGS was Gold Sponsor of this event  in Te Papa, Wellington, New Zealand

Jan Behrendt Ibso, Global Director of SGS Renewable Energy, held an excellent presentation on Operation of Wind Turbines based on experiences from Europe. He shared his knowledge and expertise about 3 themes with the audience: the life time of wind turbine installations, the failures and the services of wind turbines.

According to the presentation of Jan Behrendt Ibso the calculated design life time of wind turbines has been 20 years and this is still the same in modern wind turbines However, not all calculations are correct since manufacturers have not been able to construct the wind turbines without faults occurring in the operation and long before the design life of 20 years. The audience learned that in Europe, the first commercial wind turbines were set up in Denmark. In the 80s a standard for calculation of wind turbine loads was established which allowed larger loads on the components and it was possible to use lesser steel in the constructions.

The presentation was continued by focusing on failures concerning Gear Boxes, Bearings and the various difficulties regarding wind turbine blade materials. The failures on Offshore wind turbines are the same as on the on-shore ones, however the salty and wet environment offshore makes these conditions more severe than onshore. On the one hand some problems of early offshore wind turbines and their support structures (foundations) could also have been avoided, if the manufacturers had looked to other branches, such as the offshore industry. New wind turbines are so specialized, that they are not comparable to machines in other branches. He added that during the development failures have occurred on all components of wind turbines, e.g.: blades, bearings, gearboxes. No wind turbine will operate 20 years without at least one major component exchange, i.e. a Gear Box exchange. Finally an inside view about the different type of gearbox reparation has been given.

To avoid failures and shut downs a strict maitaining and inspection plan is recommended including project certification and technical due diligence, material testing, coating inspection and failure analyses by SGS Industrial.

For more information about SGS Wind Energy Services visit www.sgs.com/wind or contact our Wind Energy Competence Center direct.

Dr. Jan Behrendt Ibso
Global Director

SGS Renewable Energy
Raboisen 28, 20095 Hamburg
t: +49 (0) 40 30 101 236
f: +49 (0) 40 30 101 936
Web: www.wind.sgs.com

About SGS

The SGS Group is the global leader and innovator in inspection, verification, testing and certification services. Founded in 1878, SGS is recognised as the global benchmark in quality and integrity. With more than 50,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,000 offices and laboratories around the world.