3 Lighting Challenges on Offshore Wind Turbines – And How to Solve Them
When selecting lighting fixtures for an offshore wind turbine, considerations should be made for challenging offshore conditions and how they can affect your company’s bottom line.
Torrential rain, constant vibration and corrosive conditions at sea all contribute to the degradation and damage of lighting fixtures. Due to accessibility difficulties, repair and maintenance costs quickly add up when lighting fixtures are not designed and built to withstand these conditions.
Requirements for lighting fixtures will also vary according to the types of lighting on the wind turbine and the specific purpose they each serve.
Types of Lighting on Wind Turbines
3 Main Considerations When Selecting Lighting Fixtures for Offshore Wind Turbines
Resistance to Marine Environment
The remote locations of offshore wind farms situated far out at sea pose unique challenges in specifying lighting for turbines. With constant exposure to challenging marine conditions such as saline environments and high-speed winds, turbine lighting needs to be designed to withstand these elements in order to avoid corrosion and premature failures.
Not only does this wear and tear to lighting fixtures compromise the operation of turbines, but it can eat into a wind farm’s bottom line and its financial viability over time.
Failed lighting fixtures may put turbines out of commission or prevent routine maintenance procedures, which can pose health and safety risks without adequate lighting, in turn resulting in disruptive downtime.
Solution: Durable Lighting Fixtures
To minimize downtime on wind turbines, selecting durable lighting designed to withstand at-sea conditions is critical.
Unnecessary repairs and replacement costs can be mitigated by selecting high quality, durable lighting fixtures which are designed with the sea’s challenging conditions in mind. By minimizing downtime, the turbine is kept running for longer periods uninterrupted – maximizing productivity for manufacturers, investors and developers of the turbine.
Light pollution is a growing concern globally, with 99% of the US population already living under light-polluted skies. With artificial light being associated with the disturbance of marine animals, there is growing pressure on companies to ensure their offshore wind operations are not disruptive to surrounding ecosystems including oceanic wildlife.
Solution: Glare-free Lighting
In selecting lighting fixtures for a wind turbine, exterior lighting must use glare-free technology which has minimal or no impact on marine life to avoid regulation violations, fines and community or government dissent down the line – avoiding potential operational disruptions. Glare-free lighting, with customized optics and light output will keep illumination only where needed.
Conventional lighting such as HPS fixtures take time to warm up each time fixtures are switched on, which can lead to lengthy delays in turbine maintenance. To avoid these delays, lights would likely be left on 24/7, increasing energy wastage and costs.
Solution: Energy Efficient Lighting
On wind turbines, the ability to ‘restrike’ or switch lighting on and off instantly without lengthy warm up times is important to reduce energy costs.
With energy efficient LED fixtures able to instantly restrike when needed, workers can have sufficient light required for maintenance and fixtures can be turned off otherwise, cutting down energy consumption and costs.
Want to learn more about how to select the best lighting fixtures for your turbine? Work with a trusted lighting expert. Based in Milwaukee, WI USA, Phoenix Lighting designs and manufactures high-quality, BAA compliant marine lighting and offers a broad range of products and applications for wind turbines.