Managing the Increasing Need for Structural Health Monitoring of Onshore Wind Facilities

With the continued increase and growing use of UK onshore wind generation and capacity, alongside the ageing of some of the older facilities, there is a growing demand to monitor these structures to ensure their continued safe and efficient operation to the end of their lifespan and beyond.

SOCOTEC Monitoring recently undertook a project for a major UK renewables provider. The Scottish wind farm had several turbines which exhibited cracking to their concrete foundation plinths. However, the operator needed to know how these structures were performing under live load due to high gusts of wind.

Bespoke monitoring

A bespoke dynamic (10Hz) monitoring system was designed to monitor displacements, strains and crack expansion dynamically during a number of set measurement timings. This ensured that the system was robust, given the harsh weather conditions at the site. The system also needed to be autonomous (with remote access) and reliable, given the difficulty of accessing this site. Each turbine had its own solar powered 8-channel data logger. The installation was not straightforward, requiring bespoke bracketry and magnets to fix instruments to the structure without causing any damage to the specialist protective coatings.

Working with asset owners/operators to design, test and install a fit-for-purpose monitoring system is what SOCOTEC Monitoring does best. A bespoke solution was engineered to obtain the key parameters required to better understand the asset’s performance, without relying on ‘off the shelf’ solutions. The aim was not to just acquire large volumes of data without further understanding, but also to ensure the development of a system that will give the client the data they need to better manage their asset, understand performance limitations and extend the lifespan to its full potential.

How can SOCOTEC help?

SOCOTEC Monitoring specialises in the design, installation and provision for geotechnical and structural monitoring systems. With over 30 years’ civil engineering experience we are the trusted contractor in construction, rail, highways, utilities, mines and ports across the UK.

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