Control networks are needed to configure and monitor a wind farm’s interconnected technical components. In the VirtuWind project, experts from Siemens’ global research unit Corporate Technology are adapting state-of-the-art telecommunications technologies for use in industrial facilities. The project consortium is headed by Siemens. The European Union is providing the three-year project with a grant of €4.8 million.
Secure and efficient operation of wind farms requires participants to have remote access to various components such as sensors, actuators, and networking devices (e.g. routers). To make this possible, a wind farm’s local control network connects individual wind turbines to the respective control center. The local control center, in turn, connects the local network to company networks or to the Internet so that participants can access the farm’s devices and data. Such a setup can benefit wind farm owners such as E.ON, wind farm operators such as Siemens, transmission grid operators such as Tennet, and suppliers of sensors, actuators, and network routers. However, wind farms require control network structures that are complex and costly to install, operate, and maintain. For example, such networks frequently need to install security updates. Doing so can interfere with operations and require wind turbines to be shut down.