Follow us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Management Tools for Wind Farms

The Sotavento experimental wind farm has been developed in collaboration with Engasoft Engineering, a management system for wind farms.

It is an innovative software application, developed for monitoring tasks and controlling operational tasks in these generating stations. Wind power has seen very rapid growth in recent years, wherein we have observed that monitoring and control of wind farm maintenance (from a guarantee and financial compliance perspective) has moved to the background. So, we have worked to define and develop a generic optimization tool (applicable to any type of wind technology), that allows you to verify and quantify the most significant parameters, to suit the user and regardless of the SCADAS information, from the operational perspective, such as power curve compliance, availability, energy losses, loss of profits due to maintenance activities, etc.

All this from an intuitive, easy to use and complete application. One tool that has been described by the industry as "practical" and "very complete".


Image: global scheme information flow

WIND SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT


Throughout all these years, in which wind power has seen a rapid expansion in our country, applications on the market for wind farm monitoring and control have been linked to specific decades of wind technology implanted in each site, and carrying a number of limitations to the developer when assessing the performance of the installation:

  • Programs aimed at technologists and maintenance companies with restricted access and different privileges.
  • Preparation of a limited number of reports, with no knowledge by the developer of the methodology used and no possibility to validate the data.
  • Non-universal applications, linked only to each wind turbine manufacturer.

SOTAVENTO EXPERIENCE

Sotavento Galicia S.A. is constituted as an Experimental Wind Farm promoted by the Galician regional government in order to create a new concept in wind farms, coordinating private and public initiatives in a project where there were existing wind technologies implemented in Galicia at that time.

Sotavento Galicia S.A. is engaged by two public entities that form 51% of the capital: Institute for Diversification and Energy Saving (IDEA) and Energy Institute of Galicia (INEGA), S.A., and three private companies on behalf of the electricity sector in Galicia: Enel Green Power Spain S.L., Galicia Iberdrola Renewables, S.A. and Galicia Energy, S.A. (Engasa).

The purpose of Sotavento Galicia, S.A. is, in addition to the commercial operation of a wind farm, to achieve four differentiated objectives:

  • Being a "showcase" farm of different wind technologies present today in Galicia.
  • Being a framework for conducting R & D + i, with the ability to offer value-added elements to the wind industry.
  • Centre of training and discussion in renewable energy.
  • Centre of information for renewable energy.

Sotavento Experimental Wind Farm was opened in June 2001 by HRH the Prince of Asturias. It has an installed capacity of 17.56 MW, consisting of 24 wind turbines of 9 different models, belonging to the 5 manufacturers deployed at that time in Galicia (Gamesa, Made, Ecotecnia, NegMicon and Bonus).

At this facility several projects and studies related to the wind energy sector are performed such as the simulations of machine performance against the incoming wind, wave quality studies, wind forecasting systems, reactive power compensation, voltage dips, analysis vibration, etc.

Taking advantage of the knowledge acquired over the years on various SCADA (communications protocol, data storage formats) and maintenance philosophies of the manufacturers present in the park, and being aware of the need to interpret and unify this diversity of information, Sotavento Galicia has developed and tested at its facilities, in collaboration with the Engineering Engasoft, a proprietary comprehensive management operating system applicable to any wind farm, regardless of their technological characteristics.

METHODOLOGY PERFORMED


The phases carried out in the development of the application were as follows:

A) COMMUNICATION SYSTEM

Network integration of the existing locally operated positions in the park's control room, which housed the SCADA for the five technicians, meteorological towers and substation. At this stage, a perfect time synchronization between the turbines and SCADA was necessary for the use of a single time base in the management model.

B) HOMOGENEOUS DATA BASE STORAGE

The data from the different systems of the wind farm are imported from their SCADA to the database hosted on the central server.

The importation of such data may be performed manually (assisted by an operator), automatically (in real time as they occur) or scheduled (as configured by the operating plan).

The data to be imported are:

  • Turbine data.
    Because SCADA using different formats of files stored in the databases of each technologist present various configurations, no particular standard setting has yet been determined. Therefore, handling for programming routine is performed on each file for homogenization and final database storage (ten-minute intervals with variable management fields measured by Date, Time, Wind Incident, kWh generated, that will be used for reporting).
  • Wind Turbine incidents.
  • Ten-minutely data from the anemometer towers.
  • Data from maintenance operations performed.
  • Data from electrical generation at substation.
  • Hourly data of the prediction systems.

C) REPORTING

The management program is prepared for:

  • The generation of many reports from the database.
  • Exporting data and results.
  • Sending results to recipients.

The following summarises some of the different reports and PKIs that provide the application:

Energy Movement

The report reflects the power flows from the wind farm (energy generated, energy consumed in wind turbines and control building, reactive flows and power losses in the farm) from substation meters and the wind turbines.

Wind anemometer towers

It shows the characteristics of the wind resource (wind, direction, density, pressure, temperature, etc.) from existing measurements recorded in the anemometer towers at the park at a selected time interval.

Wind turbines

They reflect the characteristics of the incoming wind at positions within the farm, from the average rates of wind speed recorded at ten-minute intervals, from each wind turbine anemometer nacelle.

The program allows a correction formula to be introduced between the incoming wind (without disrupting the upstream of the wind turbine) and the said anemometer measured.

Summary of production and equivalent hours

The report compares the energy produced by the wind turbines at a previously selected time period, as well as other related variables (availability, capacity factor, etc.)

Turbine power curve

Represents the degree of compliance of the wind turbine power curve within selected periods.

Ten-minutely data are used, in which the wind power generated and the incoming wind in the wind turbines are standardised to the density of air at sea level 1,225 Kg/m3 (according to UNE 61400-12). From the ten-minute air density rates recorded in the farm’s anemometer towers, the power generated in the case of fixed pitch machines is corrected, or if it is variable pitch machines, the incoming wind speed is corrected.

The report includes data filters to calculate the power curve for disrupted and undisrupted areas, for wind range, for density ranges, etc.


Image: extract from turbine power curve report

Wind farm power curve

The report estimates the power curve at the farm ten-minutely and hourly, depending on the selected intervals of the database:

  • Ten minutely curve at the farm: ten-minute data are used for the wind from the farm’s anemometer towers, and ten-minutely power data is the sum of all the wind turbines at the farm.
  • Hourly curve at the farm: hourly wind data are used from the farm’s anemometer towers, and hourly power data are used from the substation meter, and the sum of the wind turbines at the farm obtained in the technologist database.

It incorporates the following filters:

  • Air density: farm curve able to benefit from a range of air density at the location specified.
  • Incoming wind direction at anemometer towers: farm curve able to benefit from selected sectors.
  • Percentage of farm’s available power: farm curve obtained when availability exceeds the selected percentage.
  • Selection of turbines unavailable: farm curve able to benefit from discounting those wind turbines, something useful for generation prediction systems.

Map data

The report provides a visual form (in ten-minute periods) each wind turbine and monthly information of: periods with absence of data for active power generated, errors of unavailability periods, periods with no voltage, manual scheduled stops by the operation, intervals with no generation but with enough wind and periods of machine maintenance operations.

Availability

The report reflects in bar graph form the percentages of availability and of energy lost by unavailability for the wind turbines and selected periods.

Different data filters have been incorporated to calculate availability; applying the different variants present in the wind turbine supply contracts (total period, period with wind generation, maintenance intervals and absence of voltage, etc.).

A template of incidents is pre-configured for each wind turbine in which errors that cause unavailability are selected. In the same way, the program is able to calculate the energy lost in wind generation periods, in which the wind turbine reflects nil production without existence of error.


Image: main configuration screen for availability report (variant 1)

Energy diversion

The report reflects the energy lost by the turbines during periods with available machines due to curve failure.

Data are used of wind power generated ten-minutely and of incoming wind in the wind turbines, referring to the density recorded ten-minutely at the site of the farm’s anemometer towers.

The calculation is performed for any range of wind generation, allowing the possibility of filtering disrupted sectors.


Image: extract from energy diversion report

Módulo de Mantenimiento

It is a specific module within the management program, which will enable on the one hand the tracking of maintenance work performed, and on the other, the preparation of reports that allow us to draw conclusions about them, attempting to minimise the periods of unavailability associated with maintenance.

Based on the working parts (designed by Sotavento) transactions carried out by the maintenance companies at the farm are entered manually. Once all maintenance operations are entered, the management system graphically and numerically is able to display different reports:

  • Comparisons of time spent on maintenance between turbines.
  • Time used for prediction, prevention and correction.
  • Time used in maintenance of the different wind turbine systems.
  • Average wind in wind turbines during operation intervals.
  • Energy lost during maintenance work.
  • Listings of wind turbine operations.

Specific Modules

The application is structured and developed in a way that allows easy incorporation of new reports and PKI's appropriate to the specific business logic of any company.

FUNDAMENTAL TOOL FOR WIND FARM MANAGEMENT


These reports, detailed and flexible, make the application an essential tool for the monitoring and analysis of the operating parameters for the various components of the wind farm. They allow for decision making based on the results, all of which always aim to improve the performance of the system in the face of greater farm profitability.

The many reports and PKIs of this system provide relevant information on issues related to the operation such as:

  • Comparisons of behaviour between turbines in various wind ranges.
  • Energy losses due to unavailability of wind turbines.
  • Energy lost by curve failure.
  • Control of maintenance (time spent on prevention, prediction and correction, maintenance response time, energy lost during maintenance operations, actual cost associated with maintenance, substituted materials, turbine failure statistics, possibility of sending SMS messages to maintenance crew in real time, etc.).
  • Monthly billing, economic valuation for loss of profits and comparative tariff modality.
  • Study of the behaviour of deviations from the forecast systems.

In summary, the technical characteristics given below have been taken into account in the preparation of the application, and provide a number of benefits to its users:

  • Compatible with any wind technology.
  • Applicable to all possible wind farm topologies (one farm, several farms, a farm with various manufacturers, multi-developer or different farms with several manufacturers).
  • Possibility of parameterisation for the data user, for authentication of the information to be processed and to rule out anomalies.
  • Inclusion of possible filters applicable in each report to narrow down the data evaluated.
  • "Top-down" reports applicable to any time interval.
  • Ability to carry out other reports proposed by the customer, as well as to integrate alternative measurement system data that exist or are implemented on the farm.
  • Intuitive standardised user interface.
  • Planning of broadcasts and posting of regular reports in real-time to local and remote recipients.
  • Ability to contrast the results of the reports by exporting data to other user programs.

All these features make the system:

  • A wind audit tool for the analysis and compliance monitoring of the contractual guarantees between technicians, maintenance companies and developers.
  • A tool that can be used to analyse, in fixed intervals, the behaviour of the installation (Periods of reception, annual accounts, triennial, etc.).

MARKETING


At present, there is the possibility of establishing trade agreements with various industry players (developers, technologists, engineers, maintenance companies, insurance companies, banks, etc.) for accessing this tool.

If you are interested in buying or using this solution, contact Sotavento Galicia, to apply for terms and conditions.