The electric generator is estimated to be among the top three contributors to the failure rates and downtime of wind turbines. For this reason, in the general context of increasing interest towards effective wind turbine condition monitoring techniques, fault diagnosis of electric generators is particularly important. The objective of this study is contributing to the techniques for wind turbine generator fault diagnosis through a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) analysis method. The work is organized as a real-world test-case discussion, involving electric damage to the generator of a Vestas V52 wind turbine sited in southern Italy. SCADA data before and after the generator damage have been analyzed for the target wind turbine and for reference healthy wind turbines from the same site. By doing this, it has been possible to formulate a normal behavior model, based on principal component analysis and support vector regression, for the power and for the voltages and currents of the wind turbine. It is shown that the incipience of the fault can be individuated as a change in the behavior of the residuals between model estimates and measurements. This phenomenon was clearly visible approximately two weeks before the fault. Considering the fast evolution of electrical damage, this result is promising as regards the perspectives of exploiting SCADA data for individuating electric damage with an advance that can be useful for applications in wind energy practice.
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