Understanding the Timeline for Installing Wind Turbine Ice Protection Systems

Ice Protection Systems (IPS) are designed to prevent downtime, damage, and safety risks associated with ice formation on turbine blades. The installation process involves several phases, including customization and design, manufacturing, installation, and ongoing maintenance. Wind farm operators should be aware of the lead time required to prepare for the next icing season. Additionally, installing the IPS during warmer months offers advantages such as improved safety conditions and potentially reduced costs.

Customization and Design Phase (3-5 weeks)


Daniela Roeper

Vice President BorealisWind

The Customization and Design phase of installing an Ice Protection System (IPS) to optimize system performance involves a detailed analysis of site-specific icing conditions and turbine specifications. This analysis provides icing experts with essential data to design and engineer a custom IPS precisely to the site’s climate and turbine model. By considering factors such as local weather patterns and turbine characteristics, engineers can design a system that effectively monitors and mitigates ice formation while minimizing energy consumption and operational disruptions. A well-planned and executed IPS not only enhances turbine productivity but also ensures long-term reliability and safety in cold climate conditions prone to icing events.


Manufacturing and Shipping Phase (12-20 weeks)

After designing a custom Ice Protection System based on the specific needs of the wind farm site and the turbine, the specialized components are manufactured and assembled to prepare for installation. To ensure the highest quality product, these materials can take several weeks to produce, package, and ship to the installer or wind farm. Strategic planning is essential during this phase to navigate any challenges and minimize delays in the production process.


Installation Phase (2-7 days)

To install the ice protection system, skilled field technicians install the custom engineered system in the blades either on the ground or on the turbine. This stage involves careful coordination and execution to ensure the system is correctly and safely installed. Following installation, system functionality is verified through commissioning and remote monitoring systems are tested to ensure connectivity and accurate reporting.

If the blades are on the ground (for example preconstruction or during a repower) the installation can be completed in 2 days per turbine. Installations performed up-tower require 1-2 days per blade because only 1 blade can be retrofitted at a time. A complex installation can require up to 7 days per turbine. An example schedule is shown below:

Understanding the timeline for installing ice protection for wind turbines in cold climates is important to ensure that systems are installed efficiently at the optimal time of year

Installing an IPS during warmer months, typically between April and October, offers distinct advantages including improved safety conditions due to more favorable weather conditions and reduced risks associated with working in extreme cold. Additionally, warmer temperatures facilitate smoother logistics and can potentially lower costs associated with installation, making it an opportune time to implement solutions in cold climate environments prone to icing events.


Ongoing Maintenance & Service

Ongoing maintenance and service play a pivotal role in ensuring the safe and consistent operation of both wind turbines and Ice Protection Systems (IPS) in cold climate environments. Preventative maintenance is crucial for safeguarding blade health and longevity, directly impacting safety and energy production. Regular inspections and upkeep help detect and address potential issues before they escalate, reducing the risk of equipment failure and downtime. Additionally, replacing or refurbishing system components as needed is essential to maintain uninterrupted optimal performance of the IPS, ensuring it remains effective in mitigating ice-related risks. Coordinating the maintenance schedule with normal operations also helps avoid unnecessary downtime, allowing for seamless integration of maintenance activities without disrupting energy production.

A customized and comprehensive Ice Protection System (IPS) can increase annual energy production by more than 10% while reducing safety risks for surrounding people and property. By custom engineering the IPS to specific site conditions and turbine models, operators can effectively mitigate ice-related risks, minimize downtime, and ensure consistent energy production.

NOW is the time to prepare for the next icing season. By proactively implementing a plan for ice protection during the spring and summer months, wind farm operators can ensure their turbines are adequately equipped and ready to withstand harsh winter conditions to efficiently and effectively optimize performance and safeguard against potential disruptions.


Additional Information

How the BorealisWind Ice Protection System Works

Beyond “Cold Weather Packages”: Embracing the Future of Anti-Icing Technologies