New standard for the design of wind turbines

28 May 2019| Energy: After almost ten years, the standard IEC 61400-1 is being thoroughly revised.

Hamburg: After almost ten years, IEC 61400-1 is being thoroughly revised. The internationally recognised standard deals with the technical requirements for the design of wind turbines and is published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). As a member of the IEC, TÜV NORD took a leading role in rewriting the standard and was successfully accredited as one of the world's first certification bodies.

As Mike Wöbbeking, director of the Renewables segment at TÜV NORD and General Manager of TÜV NORD EnSys, explains: “The last revision of the standard took place about ten years ago. With the new design requirements, the revised standard takes into account the rapid advances the wind energy industry has undergone in recent years.”

Adapting to extreme climatic conditions

Globally, the share of electricity from wind turbines is increasing – according to the World Wide Energy Association, wind power capacity increased by about ten percent in 2018 compared to the previous year (1). At the same time, the number of wind turbines located in regions characterised by extreme weather conditions such as temperatures well below freezing or strong winds is also increasing. This is why the new Edition 4 of the IEC 61400-1 now also takes into account the effect of low temperatures, increased air density or ice accretion, especially on rotor blades. “The revised standard marks an adaptation to the new realities and thus provides for more clarity and safety in the conceptual design of wind turbines,” explains Wöbbeking.

Integration of control and protection systems comes to the fore

Until now, IEC 61400-1 has regarded control and protection systems essentially as separate systems. Alongside the existing procedure, the revision now offers the option of taking into account a safety-oriented programmed control system that integrates the tasks of the protection system directly into the operational management process. “This offers new ways of making the design more turbine-specific, especially in the context of load calculation,” explains Wöbbeking.

TÜV NORD played a key role in the revision

As a member of the IEC, TÜV NORD was actively involved in the revision of the standard in collaboration with an international team from the science and business sectors. Due to the size of the international group of interested parties, the multi-year technical revision of the design requirements took place mainly in national “mirror committees” which collaborated actively in the co-determination of the text for the standard. The German mirror committee DKE/AK 383.0.1 of the German Commission on Electrical Engineering, Electronics, Information Technology, under the direction of TÜV NORD, made an important contribution to the work.

As one of the world's first certification bodies, TÜV NORD is qualified to apply the new IEC 61400-1 under the accreditation of the German Accreditation Office (DAkkS).

TÜV NORD can be contacted by email at for general information and specific advice on the technical requirements of the IEC 61400-1.




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Annika Burchard

Industry, Energy, TÜV NORD Akademie

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