the brief

Airscope was engaged by a client with a windfarm of over 100 turbines within a rural area. We were asked to inspect one turbine as a proof of concept to gather comprehensive information on its current condition.

Our client was particularly interested in knowing if there was significant damage from lightning for insurance purposes.

Turbines are comprised of three blades, with each blade costing up to $300,000 to replace. Lightning strikes weren’t considered to be a significant risk and they therefore weren’t covered under their current insurance policy.

Minor damage to the blades can cause the composite to delaminate. The resulting vibrations may cause the blade to split apart, which can lead to a catastrophic failure when put under stress.

A wind turbine’s hub also contains highly flammable hydraulic oil and plastics that are housed near machinery and electrical wires. Therefore, there’s a high risk of fire from faults.

Previous access for inspections had been limited to highly inaccurate photographs taken from the ground or rope work that was inherently dangerous, costly and time-consuming. Each turbine had to be shut down for an entire day, resulting in lost productivity.