Wind Power – Driving the Energy Transition
The procedure for building a new wind farm is still more akin to a marathon than a sprint. For example, in Germany, notably the third largest wind power country per capacity after China and USA, it sometimes takes up to five years for the project to be completed. Other countries show how it can be done quicker. Multiple stakeholders must be brought on board. Numerous laws, standards, and local regulations need to be observed. In many countries, emissions, proximity to and interferences with local residents, regulation-compliant design, and environmental conservation all have to be taken into account when planning a wind farm. This is the case worldwide, albeit to different extents, and always represents a possible pitfall. Applicants must therefore provide detailed information on construction planning and the intended electrical systems, as well as expert reports on noise levels, shade, visibility, impacts on landscape, and the environmental implications of the project.
DEKRA supports developers, grid operators, and communities, guiding them through the complex requirements involved. DEKRA provides an extensive portfolio of sustainability services focusing on energy transition, circular economy, and ESG (environmental, social, governance). What’s more, DEKRA develops services that support companies, financial service providers, and investors in terms of implementing and monitoring sustainability strategies.
Every stage of the Process
In the field of wind energy, DEKRA offers the full range of services in many countries such as Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, China and – as a globally renowned Testing Inspection Certification (TIC) company– provides expert reports that document all measures at every stage of the process and that always stand up to scrutiny.
- DEKRA supports all stakeholders in the planning and concept development phase, for example with risk assessments, notified test and measurement centers, and consulting on environmental protection, sustainability, occupational health and safety, and operational safety – all of which lay a solid foundation.
- During the construction phase, DEKRA is on hand to assist with environmental protection, safety, and quality. This not only involves electrical, structural, and mechanical inspections, but also consulting on how to coordinate the construction site safely, the aim being to ensure that safety is the top priority every step of the way.
- DEKRA can still be counted on once the wind farm is operational. Here, the focus is on carrying out routine inspections as a globally renowned Testing Inspection Certification (TIC) company, as well as expert reports on all components. Even after end of warranty (EOW), expert reports and inspections ensure full functionality and therefore a long service life for the wind farm.
- DEKRA also places great emphasis on employee safety. The range of services includes training programs on fire and explosion protection, as well as selection of the correct personal protective equipment (PPE). The rule is: safety first.
- DEKRA even remains on board after the warranty has expired. With expert reports in relation to continued operation, engineering services, and methods for measuring vibrations and blade angles, not to mention endoscopic inspections of critical components. As such, we ensure that everything is in good working order, from the foundations to the rotor blade tips.
Miracles of efficiency
Wind turbines are miracles of efficiency. They can be built within the space of a few months and using relatively little material and energy. Even after a short period of operation, a wind turbine recoups the energy required to manufacture it. This period is known as the “energy amortization period.” An onshore wind turbine needs between three and seven months to amortize this energy. Offshore turbines with an output of several megawatts take four to five months to recoup the energy used during production and installation. After this period, every hour of operation generates new clean energy, on average for at least 25 years. Depending on its design, a wind turbine can generate 40 to 70 times more energy throughout its service life than was required for its manufacture, operation, and disposal.
Half a century
Generally speaking, wind turbines are designed for a service life of 25 years and approved on the basis of a type test. In many countries, to be able to continue operations once it has reached this age, an expert report has to certify that it can continue to be operated safely. In some countries such as Sweden, Germany, and France, DEKRA holds the accreditation required to produce such reports.
Using both a practical and an analytical method, DEKRA employees examine parts relevant for stability, load-bearing components, and the functionality of safety equipment, control units, and braking systems. The practical method centers on an inspection of the turbine, an analysis of weak points, and testing of all safety-relevant components. As part of the analytical method, the remaining service life is determined by means of turbine-specific calculations or using simulations. Here, the operator receives a statement in respect of reliability and cost-effectiveness. What’s more, a document audit enables the operator to demonstrate that operational demands are lower.
In addition to the inspection for continued operation, the experts at DEKRA support wind turbine manufacturers and operators across the entire value chain with periodic inspections, warranty approvals, condition-based testing, expert damage/court reports, material inspections, vibration measurements, noise measurements, forecasts, inspections, reports, and technical due diligence.