The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has successfully delivered the first in-field measurement campaign under its blade leading edge programme.

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, in collaboration with Centrica, has successfully delivered the first in-field measurement campaign under its blade leading edge programme (BLEEP), and concluded that an uplift in annual energy production (AEP) of between 1.5 to 2% is achievable after turbines have undergone the repair of moderate blade erosion.
The measurement campaign, carried out on behalf of ORE Catapult by the Measurement Services Department at RES, in collaboration with Centrica and focused on an offshore windfarm, used Zephyr LiDAR technology to measure the power performance impact of blade leading edge erosion by assessing performance before and after blade repairs were carried out. The results should allow owner/operators to optimise their repair and maintenance strategies, balancing cost versus benefit in order to minimise levelised cost of energy impact and maximise revenue.
The resultant method will now be used to carry out a further two measurement campaigns as part of the wider collaborative industry programme of works, to validate the results and the methodology used.
Andrew Kay, ORE Catapult’s innovation manager, comented: “Blade leading edge erosion remains a significant issue for the wind power industry. The outcomes from this project will help the industry to optimise blade maintenance informed by an understanding of both the cost and the benefit of repair work. However, this measurement represents a single result from a single turbine type, site, and level of erosion. Therefore it is extremely important that further studies are performed to build a more complete picture of how the level of erosion, site, turbine and atmospheric variables influence the impact of erosion on performance.
“The methodology developed and executed as part of this campaign could also be used in the  assessment of proactive turbine upgrades such as aerodynamic or control improvements as well as to assess the impact of leading edge protection products on power performance.”
Catapult believes that for a typical 500 MW UK offshore windfarm, a 1.5% uplift in Annual Energy Production could amount to as much as £3.5 million increased revenue generation per wind farm. However, this figure is based on a number of assumptions, including the number of turbines (139), a capacity factor of 38%, revenue per MWh of £140 and an average wind speed of 9m/s.