As we approach that time of year when the site conditions become more hostile and the temperature starts to drop, along with it comes snow and ice. This can be an issue for wind turbines, not only technically but can give rise to significant health and safety issues.

Ice has the potential to cause technical damages to your asset, but in an unfortunate situation it can become catastrophic for the immediate area around the wind farm unless additional safety precautions are taken.

As safety is paramount at Greensolver, we would like to highlight how to mitigate these risks and, where possible, reduce the chance of damage or under performance to the wind farm, ensuring your assets are winter proof.

The biggest potential risk to both the asset and the surrounding area are ice throws from the blades as it rotates. This can be mitigated by a number of ways, but not limited to software and hardware that has been initially designed by the turbine designer or 3rd party retrofit.

If the wind farm is located close to any public rights of way or roads, then Greensolver would recommend that an Ice Throw Survey is conducted. This will show the likely area around the turbines that could be affected if the right weather conditions occur and ice is thrown from the blades while they are still in operation.

If there is no hardware or software specifically designed to stop the turbine operating during these conditions, then there is the risk that ice could be shed in an uncontrolled manner. This puts anyone in the immediate vicinity of the wind farm in increased danger that they might not be aware of.

Specific signage should be installed for all public access that is identified in the Ice Throw Survey. This signage can be fitted with simple Ice Indicators that change colour when the right conditions are met on site. For more regularly used sites where the turbine is built in close proximity to factories or  industrial areas, flashing beacons and audible alarms would be installed.

It’s evident that if you do not make your assets winter proof, severe consequences could be caused, including liabilities to asset owners.

If you have any queries about how to address safety issues during the winter months, Greensolver has many years of experience in safely managing wind assets all year round. Would you also like to know what kind of affect snow and ice could have on your solar plant? Our solar specialist can advise you.

For more information on how we can help make your assets winter proof, please contact one of our specialists, or visit our asset management page: https://greensolver.net/operations/