Pattern Energy has signed a three-year contract with Vaisala to access historical and real-time lightning data, according to a Vaisala press release.
Pattern will use the data to optimize blade inspections and repairs, combatting a common cause of downtime in the wind energy industry—lightning.
According to Vaisala, lightning damage accounts for almost 25 percent of insurance claims in the industry, with turbine blades having the highest rate of failure of any component. Blades damaged by lightning can incur performance penalties and higher O&M costs over the long term. Analysis of this damage can take weeks, and a full blade replacement can cost as much as $100,000.
According to the terms of the contract, Pattern Energy will have access to lightning data, allowing the company to superimpose lightning strikes on the company's infrastructure in interactive maps. This will ultimately reduce inspection and repair costs, allowing the company to spot blade damage early. Pattern will also be able to prepare insurance and warranty claims more efficiently.
"For Pattern Energy, it's certainly a case of 'looking back to move forward,'" said Remus Zaharescu, Global Manager of Energy Sales at Vaisala. "By conducting a thorough assessment of historic cases using Vaisala's extensive database of lightning activity, Pattern Energy's operations team is setting a new standard for the mitigation of lightning risks."