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Case study Pinnow, wind energy

The wind farm Pinnow is a 13.6 MW park in northeastern Germany near the Polish border. It was put into operation between March and May 2012 and consists of four plants with a nominal capacity of 3.4 MW each.

Problems with one of the wind turbines
Problems with one of the wind turbines

Modern wind turbines are equipped with remote monitoring systems. One of these systems showed in June 2016 that there were particles in the gear oil of one of the wind turbines. Such particles may be an indicator of damage to the transmission and suggest that increased wear on the gear has occurred at one or more points in the transmission. Aquila Capital's asset management has responded immediately by requesting a video endoscopy of the affected facility and all other wind turbines in the park from the manufacturer.

Proof of a gearbox damage
Proof of a gearbox damage

It turned out that our asset management experts had made the right decision with the timely requirement of endoscopy. The transmission of the system affected by the error message had hairline cracks and had to be replaced. However, further operation without performance restriction was still possible.

The gear of a wind turbine
The gear of a wind turbine

The majority of wind turbines have a gearbox that changes the speed and torque between the rotor and the generator. The reason for this is that the rotor normally has a low speed (6 to 20 rpm) and a high torque, whereas the generator for various reasons, e.g. to adapt to the line frequency, requires a higher speed of about 900 to 2000 rpm with a consequently lower torque. The gearbox of a wind turbine is not a manual transmission. It usually has a single gear ratio between the rotor and the generator.

The gear of a wind turbine
Reaparation of the turbine
Reaparation of the turbine

In June 2017, the damaged gearbox was replaced. It required two cranes. One of them was needed just to set up the crane, which finally changed the 29-ton gearbox. Until the gear change, there were no losses in electricity production. In addition, the exchange did not resulted in any additional costs for Aquila Capital and its investors due to an existing service and maintenance contract with the equipment manufacturer. The two-week shutdown was also credited against the technical availability guaranteed by the equipment manufacturer.

Reaparation of the turbine
The asset management team
The asset management team

At Aquila Capital, 10 dedicated experts deal with the asset management of our renewable energy investments

  • The teams of windpower, photovoltaics and hydropower manage renewable energy plants with an installed capacity of 2,182 MW (as at 31/03/2018).
  • The teams work closely together and thus benefit from an intensive exchange of experience.
  • With degrees from various fields, they have a diversified expertise and many years of experience in the energy industry.
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