Nordex N60/1.3 MW retrofit with automatic acoustic regulation plan, France

Bigger market, bigger wind turbines and new technology: For the first time an automatic acoustic regulation plan is implemented in a 20-year-old Nordex N60/1.3 MW wind turbine.

One of the challenges with running and maintaining older turbines, is perhaps the manual interphase of controlling them. In newer turbines today, we can do a lot of the controlling digitally/remotely and furthermore, the turbines are programmed to perform much of the controlling automatically.

It is here that we at Spica Technology are able to retrofit older turbines with new controller technology, which gives the turbine owner better remote access and control functions, hereby optimizing their turbines’ performance, enhancing their overall turnover through more production over the years to come.

The Challenge

One of our recent cases is from a small village in southern France, where local regulations required that a group of nearby Nordex N60 turbines where to be shut down at certain wind conditions, such as direction, speed, time of the day and season, wind directions and wind speeds, due to noise complaints from houses nearby.

However, done remotely this was a process that required manual handling from local service technicians, to switch the turbines on and off. As well it required a manual monitoring of wind directions, to confirm whether wind directions had changed before the turbines could be turned back on. Furthermore, the current park management system did not enable individual turbine control, which therefore required that the entire park was shut down, even if only one of the turbines was pointing the wrong direction. All in all, a process resulting in many hours of unnecessary downtime and loss of production for the park owner over the year.

Figure 1. Old scenario with manual acoustic regulation 



The solution

Spica Technology last year won the tender, which required a proof of concept followed by an installation of a full solution on all the 9 Nordex N60 turbines on the site.

The solution developed by Spica Technology, was a combined solution of our retrofit controller with an individual automatic acoustic regulation plan installed in the software, and ultra-sonic wind sensors for each turbine. Hereby not only making each turbine able to automatically shut down and turn back on by themselves, but also to individually detect wind conditions more precisely, based on their own unique algorithm (regulation plan) and hereby decide whether to shut down or continue their production (without the need to shut down the entire park).

The solution was commissioned in autumn 2020, where it has been tested and collecting data from the first turbine over the last 6 months. In autumn 2021 the solution will be fully implemented on the remaining 8 turbines.


Figure 2. New scenario with automatic acoustic regulation plan




Other than receiving a brand-new control system, the French park owner will gain full remote control of their turbines, 24/7 SCADA data access, and not least a much higher availability of their turbines due to the automatic acoustic regulation plan. Furthermore, the owner from now on will be free from borrowing and repairing old phoenix modules, that no longer are in production.

Spica Technology has earlier been able to combine the Retrofit Controller with other customer specific solutions as well, such as LIDAR and blade load monitoring – Read more cases here