Remote condition monitoring

The electrical components condition monitoring study is aimed at increasing their reliability in offshore wind farms.  

Business Time Project Coordinator
Start date: 2015 Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA)


The Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) is The Carbon Trust’s flagship R&D programme. Set up in 2008, OWA is a joint industry project, involving nine offshore wind developers with 72% of the UK’s licensed capacity and backed by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Scottish Government. Its aim is to reduce the cost of energy from offshore wind by 10%.
Cost reduction is achieved through innovation. Technology challenges are identified and prioritised by the OWA members based on the likely savings and the potential for the OWA to influence outcomes. The most promising concepts are developed, de-risked and commercialised as the OWA works closely with the supply chain throughout the process.
In order to meet the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change cost targets for 2020, significant operational cost savings are required. As part of this, The Carbon Trust has been investigating the use of remote condition monitoring on offshore wind farms to detect degradation prior to the onset of sudden failure. Suitable systems are required for online automated monitoring due to the remote nature of the Round 2 extension and Round 3 offshore wind projects.


RINA assembled a project team comprising skills in power systems, asset integrity and system modelling. The team worked to identify techniques to monitor the condition of electrical components on offshore wind farms. Information gathering included a review of published literature and results of questionnaires sent to industry stakeholders. An interactive workshop was undertaken, in conjunction with The Carbon Trust, attended by representatives from the offshore wind supply chain. We developed a cost reliability model covering the construction and operation of an electrical network for an offshore wind farm.


Online condition monitoring techniques were identified for HV transformers, switchgear, busbars and power electronic devices installed on offshore windfarms. Condition monitoring strategies were identified for operators intending to develop new offshore windfarms. Areas were highlighted where development is required for condition monitoring systems to reach commercialisation. The risk reliability model which was produced as part of this project is now being used by offshore wind developers and operators to assess the cost benefits of condition monitoring systems.