TowerPower states its ambition – to develop an offshore wind turbine surveillance and maintenance system

TowerPower is moving into uncharted waters. There are already a number of monitoring solutions for onshore wind turbines. But this project, launched in 2014 with financial support from the European Commission, aims to develop a surveillance system for offshore turbines. It is a direct response to strong demand from offshore wind farm operators, who want to cut maintenance costs by scheduling and increasing the time between site operations.

The TowerPower consortium is led by the Capenergies competitiveness cluster and includes:

  • Five pilot SMEs: Kingston Computer Consulting – KCC (United Kingdom), Moniteye (United Kingdom), Teknisk Data AS (Norway), WLB (Cyprus) and Tecopy SA (Spain).
  • Associations operating in the wind power sector, responsible for disseminating and operating the innovative technology: Capenergies (France), Cylsolar (Spain) and Associazione Italiana Prouver non Distruttive – AIPnD (Italy).
  • Three research centres responsible for developing the solution: CETIM (France), Innora (Greece) and TWI (United Kingdom).


“TowerPower is one of the first projects to focus on offshore wind turbine maintenance,” said Céline Auger, project engineer at Capenergies, which is responsible for coordinating the European partnership. “There are already plenty of surveillance solutions for the onshore wind power sector, but these technologies cannot be replicated for offshore facilities in their current form. In practice, this involves monitoring a transition piece attached to the wind turbine battery, to support the nacelle and the mast – a set of thick metal parts (40 mm) supported by 50 mm of special concrete.”

The partners have opted for two ultrasound technologies to detect defects in remote areas – acoustic emission and guided waves. Both systems work in parallel (40-50 sensors per mast). The data are aggregated and then transmitted from the nacelle to an onshore supervisor. Cetim is responsible for the “acoustic emission” part of the system.

The two technologies, along with the data processing system, were developed via a series of physical experiments on a mock-up, along with simulations. Between now and the end of the project in 2017, the partners are expected to assess the environmental conditions with “in-water” tests to ascertain the influence of wave propagation and the effectiveness of the processing unit. There will then be a full-system testing phase on an offshore structure.


The SmartEE gets off to a flying start

The EMILIE project, with a total budget of €2.2 million over three years, funded by the transnational European MED programme, aims to encourage innovation in tertiary building energy efficiency technologies among SMEs in the Mediterranean. It seeks to foster the emergence of innovative solutions to reduce the consumption of greenhouse gas-emitting energy, and to contribute to growth, competitiveness and jobs across the region. This is an ambition shared by the Capenergies competitiveness cluster, which is spearheading the initiative in France, alongside partners from Italy, Spain, Croatia and Slovenia.

MARE business meetings

The Mediterranean Activities for Research and Innovation in the Energy sector (MARE) project is holding a series of business meetings for attendees at the Mediterranean Climate Conference (MEDCOP21). The event will bring together energy-sector SMEs, researchers and projects from across Europe, with a particular emphasis on micro-grids, water desalination, renewables and building energy efficiency. The aim of the meetings is to generate new research, development, demonstration and innovation projects through the exchange of best practice and technology transfer between Mediterranean countries.

The MARE project is funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7-INCO-2013-9).

MARE Website

The SmartEE pilot scheme gets underway in Gap, under the European Emilie project

The Ocova Forum took place in Gap in 16-17 September 2014. The event, dedicated to business meetings and generating new energy transition projects, this year focused on “Smart buildings and smart grids”. This theme tied in with one of the key areas of focus of the Capenergies cluster – building energy efficiency.

To coincide with the event, around 30 representatives of major groups (IBM, Orange, etc.), institutions (CEA, Departmental Councils, local authorities and ADEME) and SMEs had a chance to attend the opening ceremony for the SmartEE regional pilot demonstrator, run under the European Enhancing Mediterranean Initiatives Leading SMEs to Innovation in building Energy efficiency technologies (Emilie) project. The aim of the project, jointly funded by the transnational “MED” cooperation programme and the PACA Region, is to encourage and test new energy efficiency technologies, products and solutions for tertiary buildings, through pilot schemes in five European partner countries – France, Italy, Spain, Slovenia and Croatia.

Capenergies is providing the PACA Region with project management assistance for the French pilot scheme. The purpose of SmartEE is to measure how awareness-raising among the occupants of a tertiary-sector building can deliver energy savings. The cluster was responsible for selecting the site, drafting the tender documentation and overseeing the installers.

Lycée Paul Héraud college in Gap (Hautes-Alpes) was selected to house the demonstrator and two local companies, WIT and Gridpocket, won the tender to install the equipment.

How the SmartEE pilot scheme works

The SmartEE demonstrator is a smart interface connected to measuring equipment (electricity, gas, water and heat meters, and temperature and contact sensors) that aims to raise awareness about environmentally friendly behaviour among building occupants. The online application will give college occupants away to analyse energy consumption in the classrooms and boarding house in real time. These visual, educational tools should enable occupants to adopt more eco-friendly behaviour. The scheme includes a points system (Ecotroks) and two competitions to encourage pupils to reduce energy consumption.

The ultimate aim of the awareness-raising experiment is to reduce the college’s annual energy bill (around €110,000) by 10% by mid-2015.

There will be a series of technical monitoring workshops and seminars between now and June 2015 to enable the European partners involved in the six pilot schemes to talk about the most effective energy efficiency technologies demonstrated within their respective schemes.

Pilote_SmartEE_03bwVisite du pilote SmartEE au lycée Paul Héraud à Gap par Vincent Morfouace,
Ingénieur projet Capenergies


Présentation par Céline Auger, Ingénieur projets Capenergies ,
responsable de l’action pilote SmartEE/ Emilie

Capenergies coordinates the European TowerPower project

TowerPowerimg00TowerPowerimg00 Capenergies is coordinating the joint European TowerPower project, launched in May 2014, which aims to develop a real-time remote monitoring system to oversee ageing offshore wind turbine structures. The new development is a direct response to demand from wind farm operators, who want to cut maintenance costs by increasing the time between site operations. The project, co-funded by the European Commission through the 7th Framework Programme (FP7), will take place over three years with a budget of around €2 million.