In the early days of the North-American wind industry, California’s Altamont Pass was a hotbed of wind-farm development. As the towers were erected, and then began to age and fail, turbine maintenance emerged as a promising growth market. Jørn Larsen was one of the first to recognize that opportunity and capitalize on its potential.
“There was basically no thought given to O&M back then, but once these early turbines began to break down Jørn and his partners started refurbishing them for the owners,” according to David Luck, director of business development at enXco Service Corp. “And that’s how the company got its start.”
Widely recognized as a forerunner to this increasingly critical sector of the wind industry—especially as the market matures, and older turbines require upkeep to extend service life—enXco Service Corp. is now part of the EDF Energies Nouvelles family of companies, with sister entities devoted to greenfield development and asset management. Despite their shared provenance, however, they are completely separate companies.
As for the services offered by enXco Service Corp., they are vast, both in terms of range as well as reach. “We provide the full scale of O&M services,” Luck says, “and we’re involved in a significant portion of the wind-farm projects currently operating in the United States, with others located in Canada.”
The company’s scope of capabilities includes both scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, parts procurement and inventory control, 24-hour remote monitoring and fault reset, and comprehensive reporting. Monitoring activities are conducted at its NERC-compliant operations control center, or OCC, which currently watches over nearly 3,000 turbines across the country, every hour of the day, every day of the week. This is a healthy portion of the more than 5,200 turbines it has under contract. “We’ve been told that it’s the finest facility of its kind in the country,” Luck says, “and we’re constantly updating operations with all the latest available technologies.”
While it will subcontract certain services such as snow removal and some blade repair—“although we do handle that ourselves in some areas,” Luck says—the vast majority of its activities are conducted by dedicated enXco Service employees. “One of the hallmarks of this company is our internal training program, which has equipped more than 300 of our wind technicians with the knowledge and skills they need to provide the level of service our customers have come to expect from us.”
Having enjoyed a front-row seat to the development of the U.S. wind industry from the very beginning, enXco Service utilizes that information in ways that provide maximum benefit to its customers. “Our file cabinet of experience is very deep, and we’re able to share that knowledge with our customers in helping them compile accurate information when approaching a new project. If someone is responding to an RFP from a utility company, for instance, we can help them develop a very accurate picture of the maintenance costs involved. And we’ve also found that our involvement in a project can be very helpful when a group of developers is seeking financing, since we definitely have the reputation and weight to back up our claims.
“We’re interested in developing long-term relationships,” Luck says, “so we’re always glad to get involved in the earliest stages of a project, especially if we can help make it a reality.”
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