Copenhagen/Denmark, 17 April 2012 – As wind energy production expands around the world, an increasing number of onshore and offshore wind farms are proposed which would lie in cyclone-affected areas, mainly in China, Korea, Japan and the U.S. A properly designed wind farm should be able to withstand the tropical storms that are likely to affect it within its lifetime.
Andreas Schroeter, Managing Director of GL Renewables Certification (GL RC), and Mike Woebbeking, Vice President of GL RC, addressed the question: “How are cyclones influencing wind turbine design?” during GL Renewables Certification’s press conference at EWEA Conference 2012 in Copenhagen. Mr Schroeter and Mr Woebbeking examined how the understanding of cyclone loading-related issues within the wind energy industry can be improved and how wind turbine design methods and standards can evolve to ensure robust operation in tropical storm conditions.
Recent tropical storms and cyclones such as Hurricane Irene, which left a trail of destruction along the eastern seaboard of the U.S., and typhoons Megi and Songda, have brought home the potential of extreme weather to impact upon offshore wind farm sites. The lack of clear guidance for categorising the risk a site faces of being hit by a tropical storm and the extreme variability with which such storms effect wind farm structures, means that developers are left with the uncertainties as to the fitness of their developments to deal with extreme weather conditions.
“There are a number of key factors to consider in assessing whether a particular turbine design, or wind farm site, can cope with the stresses of tropical storm conditions, “ explained Mike Woebbeking, “for example, the category of the cyclone faced, assessment of the site and climate forecasts, predicting wind speeds at their extremes, the ultimate load on the turbine and turbulence wind conditions in tropical storms.”
“Wind turbine design for tropical storms is one of several issues GL RC is focussing on in our research and development activities.” said Andreas Schröter. “The expansion of wind energy generation into storm prone areas and the increase in the frequency of extreme weather events means that both developers and designers are relying on our technical leadership in the development of guidelines for the construction of storm safe turbines.”
GL RC will develop a technical note for wind turbines in tropical storms. This guideline will be a supplement to GL RC’s guidelines for the certification of wind turbines. The technical note will be prepared in cooperation with academia and industry and will include knowledge from research and experience from already existing wind farms.
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Renewables Certification has issued guidelines which cover testing conditions, safety systems and quality requirements, for both onshore and offshore installations, in a variety of technical fields. For owners, manufacturers, operators, supplier firms, investors, banks and insurance companies alike certification is an important prerequisite for safe, reliable and highly productive facilities.
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