All Inspections and Deadlines of Wind Farms Under Control?9 October 2018
The requirements to be met by operations managers are steadily increasing. They have to face growing regulations, especially in the sphere of inspections
and deadlines. The complexity involved in properly handling the periodic inspections, Industrial Safety Regulations, etc., grows with the number of turbines.
Schedule and deadline management with wpd windmanager
To keep control of the multiplicity of inspections and deadlines, wpd windmanager uses central schedule and deadline management. “With around 2,000 turbines under our management, this is absolutely essential”, emphasises Jonas Lesch, Technical Manager at wpd windmanager. “Without a system of this nature, operations managers cannot process the huge volume of inspections, deadlines and individual contract arrangements with any degree of professionalism.”
If a periodic inspection is due at a wind farm, the schedule and deadline management system will inform all the relevant contacts. The work required is
scheduled early enough to exploit potential synergy effects, e.g. by carrying out several inspections simultaneously.
Determining inspection deadlines
A certain amount of preliminary work is required before the inspection deadlines enter the system. “The first thing is to determine the deadlines”, Lesch
explains. “It’s not always immediately clear what has to be inspected in a wind farm or what is urgently recommended, for example.” Added to this are the
various levels involved. “What are the statutory requirements? Are there any additional contractual or insurance-related regulations? And what role does
the subject of occupational safety play, in particular?”, says Lesch. For every wind farm, the operators have to identify potential risks and assess them in so-called risk assessments. The aim is to take preventive measures to avoid accidents or other health risks. It is particularly important to conduct regular inspections and determine the inspection deadlines taking the following regulations into account:
• requirements arising from the building approval, current directives, laws and regulations such as DIBt directives (German Institute for Structural Engineering), Industrial Safety Regulations, accident prevention regulations, technical rules, …
• contractual and insurance-related inspections determined on the basis of existing contracts and confirmed warranty claims
• special requirements arising from HSE regulations (training, plant responsibility, protection at work, fire safety, lightning protection, …)
• individual inspections depending on the condition of the particular turbine such as annual inspections as part of its continued operation
“In any individual case, the challenge is to clarify what effect the inspections have on the safe operation of the wind farm and which ones have to be given priority”, Lesch explains. “That is why we have intentionally set our own higher standards – e.g. with regard to how we deal with the inspections recommended.” Operators should seek professional support here. Any failure to meet the required inspections and deadlines entails enormous costs – and usually legal consequences as well.