Technical engineering: at the service of audit and supervision missions for multi-energy assets

News - 25 January 2021


Technical engineering at the service of technical audit and monitoring services on wind, photovoltaic and hydroelectric power plants

Nacelle-mounted LiDAR installation

First technical audit and supervision references in 2010

In autumn 2010, we left with great enthusiasm for north-west Germany, in Salzbergen, to carry out a technical audit at the General Electric manufacturing plant to check the improvements of certain components on GE 2.5xl type wind turbines that were to be delivered to a fleet of 18 machines in the Marne region of France south of Reims. The same year, we installed our first PLC to supervise the High-Voltage cells of a wind farm located in France in the heart of the Montagne Noire. These two experiences were our first two references in terms of technical audit and monitoring services.

Expertise in technical audits carried out for more than 10 years on 400 projects in France and abroad on 5GW of assets

A decade later, at the dawn of 2021, we are slightly surprised but very proud to have carried out technical audits on more than 400 projects (5 GW) in mainland France, Guadeloupe, Ukraine, Mauritania, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Poland and Kazakhstan, as well as more than 70 supervision tools in mainland France on wind, hydroelectric and photovoltaic power plants.

Thoroughness, professionalism and involvement of the teams, particularly in the maintenance department

These successes are above all the result of an enthusiasm shared by all our employees involved in these activities, but also of the rigour and professionalism that guide us every day.

Because it is also with the confidence of our clients that we have been able to carry out all these missions. 

It is also a reflection of the involvement of the maintenance teams who carry out these missions on a daily basis in parallel with their activities on the fleets. The work of the supervisors at our technical centres enables us to optimise the planning of these missions and the development of skills, two key points for the success of the activity.

Finally, it is the fruit of our development work that enables us to properly identify the issues at stake and the appropriate methods and tools, particularly on blade audits and nacelle alignment campaigns (cf. presentations CNE 2017 in Paris, DEWEK 2017 in Hamburg, Wind Europe 2017 in Amsterdam and CNE 2018 in Paris).

On the agenda for 2021: technical audits and supervision missions

On the strength of these experiences and references, as well as the trust that our clients renew each year, we are entering this new year with the desire to continue to structure ourselves in order to respond to the challenges in a precise and satisfactory manner:
– protect the interests of our customers,
– guarantee a quality dialogue with suppliers, particularly wind turbine manufacturers,
– continue to maintain and nurture relations with our partners,
– optimise electricity production,
– monitor installations in real time and ensure data acquisition to carry out performance analyses or to detect the occurrence of breakdowns in advance.

Technical audits: a wide range of services and benefits at the service of our clients

With regard to technical audit assignments, we therefore continue to focus on acceptance and pre-warranty release audits of projects as well as throughout the operational phase of projects. More specifically :

  • visual inspections of wind, photovoltaic and hydroelectric installations.
  • acquisition of wind turbine blade surface condition data with the Panoblade tool developed by the Cornis company, as well as the characterisation of defects. About ten technicians are trained in the use of the Panoblade tool, which enables us to cover the whole of metropolitan France. We are particularly attentive to the application of article 13 of the decree of 22 June 2020, which defines a periodicity for the visual inspection of the blades that cannot exceed 6 months. The year 2020 was also the beginning of the first offshore missions for us:
Data acquisition of the surface condition of the blades of an offshore wind turbine with the Panoblade tool
  • samples of lubricants and rely on a French analysis laboratory for the characterisation of fluids (viscosity, water content, spectrometry, wear, gravimetry).
  • We rely on a recognised partner with more than 20 years of experience on the French market for the performance of occasional vibration analyses and have now integrated a vibration analysis engineer into our engineering centre.
  • nacelle alignment campaigns for wind turbines in order to optimise electricity production. We are equipped with 5 measuring devices (LiDAR – Light Detection And Ranging) of the Yaw Advisor short-distance (10m) type developed by the company EPSILINE.
    We have carried out more than 30 campaigns over the last 4 years on turbines often detected as underperforming by our Data Analysts. These campaigns have highlighted significant results since 25% of the wind turbines had a significant misalignment (> at 5° – 1% production loss) and 45% of the wind turbines had a very significant misalignment (> at 7° – 1.5% production loss). Over the 31 campaigns carried out, the annual gain in electricity production is estimated at 135 k€.
Results of nacelle alignment control campaigns by wind turbine type

We have also carried out several analyses on the improvements proposed by wind turbine manufacturers to minimise dynamic misalignment, in particular on the SENVION wind turbines maintained today by SIEMENS GAMESA RENEWABLE ENERGY with the TCU (Turbine Control Upgrade) option. We have been able to evaluate certain gains of up to 3% in production, i.e. an annual gain of 12 k€ linked to the implementation of these options.

10min data of alignment depending on wind speed and % of operating time depending on alignment

We are closely following the work in progress with the draft publication of the IEC 61400-50-3 standard on performance analysis with nacelle-mounted LiDARs in order to be able to qualify the power curves of wind turbines as well as the transfer functions of nacelle anemometers in order to be able to detect and report any performance deviations.

Supervision missions for wind farms and photovoltaic plants

As far as supervision missions are concerned, our current tool enables us to supervise the delivery stations of wind farms and to guarantee the DEIE (Dispositif d’Echanges d’Informations d’Exploitation) interface with the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) of the turbine. It also offers the possibility of supervising and carrying out data acquisition for all photovoltaic power plant equipment (delivery station, transformer station, inverters, trackers, environmental sensors, reactive power regulation). More specifically, our tool allows you to :

  • Monitor the installations in real time.
  • Repatriate and store equipment data (delivery station, inverters, transformer stations, trackers, environmental sensors, meters).
  • Control the installations (opening or closing of the main circuit breaker, etc.).
  • Interface with the other equipment for the overall regulation of the power plant (DEIE, SCADA turbines and inverters (multi-manufacturers)).
  • Generate alarms in order to quickly inform the control operators of important events on the power plants (production stoppage, etc.).
  • Give access to the aggregators so that they can control the power plants.