Altitec, the blade inspection and maintenance specialist, has completed lightning damage inspection and repairs at the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm, as part of its maintenance work at the site. The work this summer followed end of warranty (EOW) inspections carried out last year, and featured two teams operating on-site over a period of six weeks.
Wind turbines are susceptible to lightning damage due to their height and high conductivity, and lightning strikes can contribute to a loss of productivity and periods of downtime. On average, Altitec estimates that it carries out lightning repairs on up to 4% of the turbine blades it inspects each year.
Kenny Beardsell, Site Manager at Greater Gabbard, said: “Regular inspections of turbine blades are not just a necessity, they really add value. Offshore turbines and turbine blades are exposed to a number of environmental and extreme weather hazards, and Altitec’s services ensure that our turbines will continue to perform at their very best well into the future.”
Under the terms of its contract, Altitec has provided specialist inspections and maintenance at Greater Gabbard, which help safeguard the future operational and financial success of the wind farm. The affected turbines remained operational right up until repairs were carried out, at which point they were taken offline until the repairs were completed.
During this downtime, Altitec’s technicians inspected and treated blades for damage resulting from general wear and tear and, in some cases, lightning damage. In total, Altitec inspected 140 turbines at the site, as well as blades with lightning damage.
“Greater Gabbard is one of the UK’s flagship offshore wind farms, and these inspections are an essential means of optimising its performance going forwards,” said Tom Dyffort, Managing Direct, Altitec Group.
“Lightning damage is a common environmental hazard for rotor blades, but even within the specialism of blade repair, the skills needed to account for it and carry out repairs are extremely technical and require a high level of training. Our technicians are very experienced in this line of work and were able to work quickly to minimise disruption and downtime at the site.”