Renewable energy producers are facing today the decrease of their feed-in tariff while their LCoE (Levelized Cost of Energy) remains constant or even increase. For wind farms the operation and maintenance costs Is a large part (up to 40%)1 of the LCoE. In this context, wind farm managers are strongly interested in optimizing their maintenance operations and minimizing their costs.
Operation and maintenance of wind farms require recurrent wind turbine visits in order to perform scheduled service operations, conduct inspections and repair different failures. Each of these operations has its constraints in terms of logistical means, technicians’ capabilities and weather conditions. When they schedule all these operations, wind farm managers must also consider the availabilities of spare parts and technicians, the costs and availabilities of logistical means and the impact on operational availability. This is an important optimization challenge that today is solved « by hand » by a scheduler. But, even for medium size wind farms, this optimization problem is way too complex to be sure that the « handmade » schedule is close to the optimal solution which will ensure the lower final cost.