Advanced Wind Sector Management (WSM) Strategies in Wind Turbines: Unlocking the Potential of Wind Assets

Advanced Wind Sector Management (WSM) Strategies in Wind Turbines: Unlocking the Potential of Wind Assets

07 Jun 2024

Effective Wind Sector Management (WSM) is based on the total or partial restriction of a wind turbine's production in certain wind directions or sectors that are considered harmful to the wind turbines. This strategy plays a key role in optimizing asset performance, ensuring the structural integrity and safety of wind turbines by managing specific wind directions, thus maximizing operational efficiency.

There are numerous examples of WSM strategies depending on the different sites and geographic locations of each wind farm.

In this article, we are going to analyze a specific case study on the detailed analysis of the structural effects of a WSM strategy and the development of new WSM strategies to unlock the highest performance of each wind turbine without compromising the structural integrity of the assets.

Project Context

Our case study comes from the request to analyze the WSM strategy of a wind farm, characterized by its conservative approach, in order to enable the improvement of the asset's performance by updating the WSM strategy to a less aggressive version.

The main technical challenge of this project arose from the complexity of the site's orography together with the layout of the wind turbines, a singularity that generated pronounced wake effects in the wind farm, and the combination of two different turbine technologies.

Given the possibility that a modification in the WSM strategy could jeopardize the structural components of the wind turbines at risk, this project starts from a detailed analysis of all scenarios (current and less restrictive WSM) in order to understand the current situation and explore new, less conservative WSM strategies, thus unlocking the maximum number of restricted wind directions, while ensuring the structural integrity of each wind turbine.

Scenario Analysis

The evaluation of the current WSM strategy and its impact on performance and safety, as well as the search for new solutions, were carried out through a detailed analysis in two scenarios:

  • Current State (Scenario 1): Evaluation of the WSM strategy of each turbine in the wind farm, to obtain a complete picture of the current state of the wind farm.
  • No WSM strategy (Scenario 2): Evaluation of each machine in the wind farm without the application of the WSM strategy, to identify possible risk situations.

Detailed Load Analysis

Both scenarios were subjected to a comprehensive load analysis, involving high detailed aeroelastic models, adopting a specific and individualized approach to obtain machine-specific results, identifying fatigue accumulation nodes and extreme component overloads.

In parallel, a detailed analysis of wind conditions was performed, obtaining wind profiles, turbulence intensity, wake effects, inflow angles, extreme turbulent winds, among others, by wind direction. In addition, an evaluation of SCADA data for each turbine and wind direction was performed to correctly define the operating conditions of each turbine (such as alarms, transient events, production, possible misalignments, etc.).

This analysis of the specific wind and operating conditions allowed obtaining directional maps of fatigue accumulation and extreme overloads per wind turbine, which served as a basis for the development of new WSM strategies adapted to each machine, considering the particular conditions of each one.

Unlocking the Wind Farm Potential

There are many occasions when we encounter restrictive WSM strategies, but thanks to our analysis methodology we are able to unveil the hidden potential without compromising the structural integrity of the wind turbines, opening up ways to safe improvement proposals.

By evaluating the two scenarios, the load maps by machine and wind direction were obtained, revealing the critical areas of each one of them, and optimizing the WSM initially applied.

This surgical approach in customizing the initial WSM strategy ensures an effective optimization in the overall performance of the wind farm achieving up to 5% improvement, setting a milestone in energy efficiency and unlocking new possibilities for a more sustainable future in wind energy.