Vattenfall, the operator of the nine year old Kentish Flats Offshore Wind Farm, is this week set to replace a single blade on one of the project’s 30 wind turbines due to lightning strikes.
The Swedish firm decided on the blade replacement after routine maintenance inspections. The damage was caused by multiple lightning strikes more than three years ago. The affected turbine has continued to generate electricity but the blade replacement is now needed to secure the long term performance of the wind turbine.
Vestas are carrying out the work and A2 sea are providing the jackup vessel. The blade will be removed and the replacement fitted on the same day, the damaged blade will then be delivered to Esbjerg in Denmark by the jackup where it will be assessed and repaired. If it’s deemed to be beyond repair, the blade will be recycled.
Inspections of the other 29 wind turbines show that lightning has not caused any significant damage to the other blades.
Willem van Dongen, Vattenfall’s head of offshore wind generation, said: “They say lightning never strikes twice but the blade on this turbine shows signs of multiple strikes. Replacing it means we can ensure it continues to generate clean power from the wind turbine for the long term.
“The blade weighs 6.7 metric tonnes and so we need a heavy crane to do the lift. Watching from Whitstable or Herne Bayover 8km away the public will be able to see high quality engineering in action– even if at times it may look like it’s in slow motion.”
Next year Vattenfall will start construction offshore of the 15 turbine extension to Kentish Flats OffshoreWind Farm.