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Commercialisation of Ventura Habitat - a novel wind turbine blade maintenance enclosure tomaximize downtime productivity

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Ventura Habitat (Commercialisation of Ventura Habitat - a novel wind turbine blade maintenance enclosure tomaximize downtime productivity)

Reporting period: 2018-02-01 to 2018-04-30

Problem: Operation and maintenance (O&M) costs constitute a sizeable share of the total annual costs of a wind turbine and may easily make up 20-25% of the total Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE). Wind farm operators are now learning that turbine blades cannot be ‘fit and forget’ items and large degrees of blade damage are now commonplace. Presently, maintenance is conducted in situ by highly skilled individuals on ropes or access platforms. Unpredictable weather impacts on the maintenance downtime of turbines and adds further costs to the O&M programme and reduces turbine availability.

Importance for society: The Paris Climate Agreement is coming into force in 2020 and wind power will play the major role in providing this. With Ventura Habitat, this can be achieved without the reliance on ideal weather conditions for maintenance meaning more turbines can be serviced and repaired which will be crucial in securing wind energy.

Objectives: The overall objective of this development project is to understand the best market to deliver the Ventura Habitat to and identify adopters for market entry of this disruptive solution to the wind industry.
We have developed an in-depth understanding of the likely criteria demanded by wind turbine wind farm owner operators. We completed an in-depth market study and voice of customer, on completion of which, we conclude that there is a viable market opportunity for Ventura Habitat initially in North America due to its large fleet of aged turbines and its use of platform access as opposed to rope access as preferred in Europe.

Furthermore, feedback demonstrates clear appetite for a fixed price model whereby GEV take on weather risk and provides client with predictive cashflow. This gives GEV a clear USP over the competition in the blade repair sector who do not accept unpredictable weather risk.
No fully weather-proof blade repair environment exists apart from GEV’s Ventura Habitat – we have a competitive lead. The habitat allows the ambient temperature and humidity to be controlled to ensure effective repairs. The benefits of safer platform working are recognised in North America, where the Ventura will enable better use of existing platform systems enabling them to be used to their full potential. Ventura Habitat therefore represents “game changing” technology and will help wind farm owners reduce maintenance costs, improve Annual Energy Production (AEP) and the competitiveness of wind generated energy.