Data-Driven Assessment of Wind Turbine Performance Decline with Age and Interpretation Based on Comparative Test Case Analysis

Sensors (Basel). 2022 Apr 21;22(9):3180. doi: 10.3390/s22093180.


An increasing amount of wind turbines, especially in Europe, are reaching the end of their expected lifetimes; therefore, long data sets describing their operation are available for scholars to analyze the performance trends. On these grounds, the present work is devoted to test case studies for the evaluation and the interpretation of wind turbine performance decline with age. Two wind farms were studied, featuring widely employed wind turbine models: the former is composed of 6 Senvion MM92 and the latter of 11 Vestas V52 wind turbines, owned by the ENGIE Italia company. SCADA data spanning, respectively, 10 and 7 years were analyzed for the two test cases. The effect of aging on the performance of the test case wind turbines was studied by constructing a data-driven model of appropriate operation curves, selected depending on the working region. For the Senvion MM92, we found that it is questionable to talk about performance aging because there is no evident trend in time: the performance variation year by year is in the order of a few kW and is therefore irrelevant for practical applications. For the Vestas V52 wind turbines, a much wider variability is observed: two wind turbines are affected by a remarkable performance drop, after which the behavior is stable and under-performing with respect to the rest of the wind farm. Particular attention is devoted to the interpretation of the results: the comparative discussion of the two test cases indicates that the observed operation curves are compatible with the hypothesis that the worsening with age of the two under-performing Vestas V52 can be ascribed to the behavior of the hydraulic blade pitch. Furthermore, for both test cases, it is estimated that the gearbox-aging contributes negligibly to the performance decline in time.

Keywords: SCADA; data analysis; performance analysis; renewable energy; technical systems aging; wind energy; wind turbines.