Wind-plant reliability has become increasingly important, as installations have reached 4% of U.S. generating capacity. Unplanned maintenance and component failures are a concern to both wind-plant owners as they directly affect revenue streams, as well as wind-turbine manufacturers who have to cover the costs of warrantied maintenance work.
Sandia leads efforts in wind-turbine reliability research—focused on reliability data gathering as well as specific research into blade reliability. The Continuous Reliability of Enhancement of Wind (CREW) project collects data from thousands of wind turbines nationwide to understand the primary drivers of wind-plant component failures. The Blade Reliability Collaborative (BRC) brings together industry, academia, and labs to improve wind-turbine blade manufacturing quality and determine the most cost-effective methods to mitigate environmental damage. Through this work, Sandia is ensuring that wind-energy technology will deliver economical, reliable, clean energy to the nation.