Offshore wind - inspecting the future
The UK's commitment to the European
Union's 2020 carbon reduction targets has led to a renaissance for green energy
generation in the UK. In particular, in the short term, this has meant the increasing
deployment of onshore, and more extensively, offshore wind turbines.
Already leading the world in offshore wind turbine deployment, with consents now
granted by The Crown Estate in UK waters, developers and wind turbine operators
are now planning a ten- fold increase in offshore capacity over the next ten years.
The inspection of the wind turbine components during manufacture and especially
in-service in remote offshore locations has required the development of inspection
techniques and programmes to reduce the risk of failure and meet the challenging
demands of this new and growing industry.
TWI has in place an in-service inspection programme for wind turbine blade attachments
using phased array ultrasonics on turbines both in the UK and overseas. TWI is planning
to offer the industry a packaged collection of suitable inspection methods for complete
wind turbine structures including phased array for foundations, towers and blades,
vibrational analysis for rotating machines together with shearography and thermography
for turbine blades.
In addition to periodic on-site inspection techniques, TWI is also looking to develop
further these techniques to offer remote online condition monitoring services for
the growing number of difficult to access offshore wind turbines anticipated worldwide
in the future.
As these inspection programmes develop, TWI will be offering compatible training