This paper presents a cost benefit analysis for wind turbine condition monitoring systems. It is widely acknowledged that performing proactive maintenance actions can reduce the number and severity of wind turbine failures. However, the use of condition monitoring systems to determine the health of the system is often viewed as costly and of little financial benefit. In this analysis the increased costs associated with condition monitoring were offset by the positive effect of early fault detection, with faults being detected before they reach a critical stage. The continual growth in turbine output and the emergence of far-offshore wind farm sites make the economic case for cost of energy reduction from timely and accurate fault detection ever stronger.

An assessment of the capability of the monitoring system was undertaken through allowance for the true to false condition monitoring detection ratio and the ability of the system to detect the severity of a fault. The analysis also compared onshore and offshore assets where the access availability can severely influence the downtime.

The results show a clear financial justification for wind turbine condition monitoring and indicate the successful detection ratio required before a condition monitoring system can offer a financial benefit.

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