Scottish renewable energy services firm SgurrEnergy has introduced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones into its wind turbine inspection services.

The drones were included after obtaining permission for aerial work from the Civil Aviation Authority and subsequent extensive trials last year.

The UAVs are fitted with a range of cameras to offer a detailed and accurate assessment of a wind turbine’s condition.

Introduction of the new drone service is being claimed by the company as a natural progression of its capabilities in operating and maintaining sites across 90 countries.

SgurrEnergy said that wind turbine operations and maintenance inspections conducted through drones can be four times faster than traditional methods. This translates to less downtime, while reducing risks for inspection personnel.

The company has also developed a software that can analyze the data captured by drones and convert it into valuable asset information for Wind turbine owners and operators. The operators can use the data to find historical trends, establishing links between defects and wind turbines’ performance.

By allowing the identification of defects causing underperformance, drones are expected to enable turbine operators to maximize annual energy production.  

Besides, the new service can help the operators to determine when to carry out repairs by segregating the severity of issues with wind turbines, thereby reducing the cost burden.

SgurrEnergy Asset Management director Robbie Gibson said: “We’re delighted to be adding UAVs to our existing inspection service offering.

“SgurrEnergy’s wide range of operational and maintenance services are designed to optimise operational performance and increase the revenue generation of our clients’ projects whilst reducing operational costs.

“We’re always striving to improve our client offering and by introducing an innovative software reporting system our clients can recognise dangerous trends and make better-informed asset management decisions.”

Image: SgurrEnergy deploys drones for wind turbines’ inspection. Photo: Courtesy of SgurrEnergy.