Wind power production costs have fallen 66% in six years due to rising plant capacities and significant cuts in operation and maintenance costs, according to a report published by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
Operation and maintenance represent a significant share of the total annual costs of wind power plants thus making it profitable for producers to seek innovative solutions to reduce these specific costs. In that sense, most producers are now planning on storing small regularly needed components as well as equipment for which failure is hard to predict, such as electrical items in order to reduce maintenance related costs.
According to the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a 50% reduction in fault related downtime could save around three and a half days operation per wind turbine. Nevertheless, reducing maintenance costs is not only a matter of storing spare parts and saving time. In turn, improving the reliability of wind turbines components seems to represent a promising tool towards the reduction of wind power generation costs.
The reduction of downtime and maintenance costs is also addressed by the Windtrust project who will present its solutions for optimization of three key wind turbines components after final testing in September 2016.