Reducing the cost of energy from wind turbines

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) and Castrol have completed a joint engineering project which demonstrated the oil change intervals for yaw gear units can be extended from 5 years to 10 years, reducing maintenance costs reducing maintenance costs significantly.

“Castrol helped us complete this joint engineering project successfully and made us realise that Castrol lubricants are more valuable than we originally thought”
SGRE Feedback, October 2018

Yaw gear units enable wind turbines to turn so they face directly into the wind. A wind turbine can have up to 8 yaw-gear units where the oil typically needs changing every 5 years. This is a difficult and time consuming operation taking more than 3 hours for each turbine. Since no electricity is generated when a turbine is shut down for maintenance, this downtime can prove to be extremely costly.

Research carried out by Castrol and SGRE suggest a 10-year oil-change interval for yaw gear units is practical. Castrol and SGRE’s tests demonstrated that Optigear Synthetic X 320 can last for seven years or more in the main turbine gearbox, conditions which are far more challenging than those found in yaw-gear units. The conclusion SGRE reached based on these tests is that a 10-year oil-change interval for yaw-gear box oil changes is possible. The corresponding reduction in maintenance costs and overall downtime translates to a significant reduction in the levelised cost of energy for SGRE wind turbines.