Drone stations at wind farms

The operation and maintenance of wind turbines amounts to approximately 25-30% of its total lifecycle costs and is expected to increase as wind farms move further away from the coast.[1] As the wind industry is exploring ways to reduce costs, drones are increasingly utilized as a cheaper and more efficient alternative.[2]

Drones currently used for inspection of offshore wind turbines are operated manually by trained pilots from a vessel on-site.[3] These trips to and from the wind park by vessels, as well as the dangerous climbs up and down the windmills required in some tasks, could be decreased by the installation of a drone platform, on-site at wind parks, from which they can be remotely operated.[4]

Eventually equipped with more sophisticated tools, multi-purpose drones would be able to carry out not only inspection, but also simple maintenance tasks that are currently performed manually.

When will land-based pilots operate inspection drones stationed at offshore wind parks?

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[1]Röckmann, C., Lagerveld, S., Stavenuiter, J. (2017), Operation and Maintenance Costs of Offshore Wind Farms and Potential Multi-use Platforms in the Dutch North Sea
[2]Measure, (2018), Drones for Wind Turbine Inspections
[3]Simonsen, R. (2020), Drone inspection of wind turbines - on- and offshore
[4]Froese, M. (2018), 5 tips for offshore wind-turbine inspections by drone

By Matthew J. Spaniol