Hamburg, Germany — Almost one year after final commissioning of the Thornton Bank wind farm in Belgium, REpower Systems AG announced that availability of the six REpower 5M turbines has been consistently above 97% over a period of six months.
Despite the adverse conditions in the open seas, since the turbines were officially commissioned, over 4,000 full load hours have been recorded per turbine.
The six turbines installed by REpower in the German alpha ventus test field have been delivering positive results in the first weeks and months of operation and are currently working excellently as well. Several of the turbines installed at this site have already completed their operational trials.
The initial phase of the Thornton Bank project with six REpower turbines was officially inaugurated at the end of June 2009 and, for the remainder of the year, achieved a technical availability rate of 94%. The wind farm is located 28 kilometers off the Belgian coast in waters between 12 m and 27 m deep, making it one of the first such wind farms to be located so far offshore.
“We have deliberately prepared ourselves for these more difficult access conditions. Thanks to continuous improvement measures in service, we have managed to raise the technical availability for the current year to over 97% – a peak value that even many onshore systems cannot emulate,” said Matthias Schubert, REpower’s CTO.
Faults are immediately identified by a Permanent Monitoring System (PMS) and then quickly rectified by locally based service technicians from REpower Benelux. A team of specialists works in parallel to the service technicians to ensure that each individual fault type is permanently eliminated.
“Our systems there are running without any problems and have proved their worth at the test site. The experience that we have gained with more than two dozen turbines at coastal onshore and offshore locations since the setup of the first prototype in 2004 has proved extremely useful,” Schubert said.