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Back to life

Online since the 1990s, the UK’s first wave of onshore wind farms are approaching the end of their 25-year life cycle. Repowering and life extension are attractive options for developers, but project success is dependent on understanding landscape context as Chris Calvert, executive director of Pegasus Group, tells Ross Davies.

Storm season

When it comes to wind power, too much of a good thing can spell disaster, with intense gales promising to overload and destroy turbines during storms or more extreme weather events. New design approaches, however, could allow them to endure all kinds of tempests – and generate more power to boot. Greg Noone analyses the lengths to which wind companies are going to place their creations in the eye of the storm, and talks to Nicolas Denis, electrical and control engineer at Challenergy, about the durability of its new Magnus turbine during the height of typhoon season.

Up in the air

Maintaining offshore wind farms is tricky work, with engineers having to clamber up individual turbines to check out any problems – a recipe for injuries given the height and location of the towers. Yet it is becoming increasingly clear that by using drones, operators can keep the wind farm active from the comfort of their offices. Andrea Valentino talks to Boaz Peled, CEO of First Airborne, and Mirko Kovac, director of the aerial robotics laboratory at Imperial College London, about the latest developments in the field.