The EU Commission has set new growth targets for the wind power generation industry as part of the plan for the decarbonisation of the European economy during the next few decades through the increasing utilisation of renewable sources of energy. As a result, wind farms are predicted to see an unprecedented increase in numbers with thousands of MW-rated wind turbines planned for construction both onshore and offshore across the continent.

Nonetheless, reliability aspects of wind power generation have always been a fundamental obstacle in consolidating industrial and societal confidence in wind energy's potential to replace conventional power sources based on the use of fossil fuels as well as a realistic alternative capable of addressing the looming energy crisis.

At the moment wind turbine manufacturers and operators are faced with substantial operational costs largely due to the amount of corrective maintenance that needs to be carried out every year resulting from the unexpected failure of various critical turbine components. The ever rising number of the wind turbines themselves increases the likelihood of a failure and makes efficient maintenance planning more and more difficult due to the lack of qualified maintenance personnel and the limited financial resources available to wind farm operators. The growing size of wind turbines also means more complex and time consuming maintenance and inspection procedures which are not easy to carry out.

The NIMO project will support the effort of the wind power generation industry in delivering efficient wind energy to Europe by achieving better reliability standards and reducing corrective maintenance costs through accurate condition monitoring of wind turbines.

The consortium of this project will develop and demonstrate an integrated condition monitoring system based on a modular design, which will enable the accurate and reliable evaluation of the structural and operational condition of wind turbines. Each module will provide information for different aspects of the condition of the wind turbine.

The implementation of the NIMO system will result in a noteworthy reduction of inspection times when compared with existing state of the art inspection techniques. It will also minimise the need for corrective maintenance thus leading to a substantial decrease of the overall operational costs. Furthermore, by fusing and analysing the data obtained through the different sensors, it will be made possible to quantify the faults detected by the system and enabling the wind farm operators to update the maintenance schedule accordingly.

The successful implementation of the NIMO integrated condition monitoring system will support the European wind power generation industry in its effort to supply reliable energy and remain a world leader in the field of renewable energy production.