As wind power has become a mainstream generating technology, some utilities have chosen to own wind turbines themselves and take on some or all of the responsibility for operations & maintenance (O&M) for these generating assets. O&M presents unique and different challenges for utilities, including decisions on conducting activities with existing utility staff or outsourcing these activities or a blend of the two scenarios. Operating costs are dependent upon many factors, but http://www1.eere.energy.gov/wind/pdfs/2011_wind_technologies_market_report.pdf Wind turbines can provide large amounts of electricity, cleanly and reliably, at prices competitive with any other new electricity source—if they are properly operated and maintained.
A report was issued in late 2011 providing information to electric utilities on Operations & Maintenance issues and creating in-house maintenance programs for wind turbines. The report can be found here.
The U.S. wind energy industry has installed more than 50,000 megawatts of wind projects, and has accumulated millions of hours of wind turbine operation and maintenance experience. By the end of 2012, over $50 billion worth of wind installations in the U.S. will be out of warranty, leaving the owner with the financial risk of providing cost-effective operation and maintenance. And in the next two decades, the U.S. will require more than 100,000 additional wind turbines to supply 20% of the nation's electricity. The industry needs to develop, document, and share best practices and lessons-learned for operating wind projects at peak productivity, and profitably, for decades to come. AWEA plans to release the new AWEA Operation and Maintenance Recommended Practices at the AWEA Operations, Maintenance and Reliability Workshop in La Jolla, California, in January. http://www.awea.org/events/AWEA-Wind-Project-Operations-Maintenance-and-Reliability-Seminar-2013.cfm The procedures outlined in the Recommended Practices will be adapted to utility operations by the AWEA Utility Working Group. For more information, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.