WWEA Congress session: “Different Perspectives on Operations and Maintenance”


IRENA chaired a discussion among manufacturers and service providers on operations and maintenance (O&M) for wind turbines as part of a Congress organised by the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) on 18 September at the Husum Wind Energy Trade Fair in Germany. O&M is a critical component of wind energy systems, with significant implications for wind energy production costs. The session highlighted the insufficiency of available O&M data on wind turbines, leaving uncertainty about the potential to reduce their O&M costs. This is important, because IRENA’s costing analysis shows that even if installed costs for wind continue to decline as projected in the coming years, this may not result in commensurate declines in the cost of electricity unless O&M costs also fall.

The WWEA Congress, taking place during the HUSUM Wind Energy 2012 trade fair, looked at “Operation & Maintenance as a Key Sector of the Wind Industry Worldwide: Status, Challenges, New Concepts”. WWEA organised the event in partnership with IRENA and the German (BWE) and Swedish (SVIF) wind energy associations.

The half-day Congress gathered together experts from Germany, Sweden, Canada, China and India, among others, to present the status of O&M in their respective markets. Manufacturers and independent service providers presented different viewpoints and business models, followed by a final panel discussion on O&M cost challenges for wind. Participants, calling for greater data transparency, urged IRENA and industry associations to continue collecting and publishing more data on O&M costs, performance, business models and market structure.

Good O&M practices can optimise wind-farm performance by reducing downtime and extending turbine lifetimes. Meanwhile, better understanding of costs in the industry would help to more rapidly identify cost-reduction opportunities.