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December 2023

Headwinds for offshore construction

Development of the offshore wind industry in the United States faces some hurdles, but reasons for hope remain.

Renewable energy development in the United States has grown significantly in recent years. That development is driven by governmental requirements, including renewable portfolio standards; financial incentives, including renewable energy tax credits and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022; and corporate demand for clean-energy alternatives. Total annual U.S. electric generation from wind energy increased from […]
E. Carter Chandler Clements

How spiral welding is revolutionizing wind-turbine manufacturing

Designed to use coiled steel, the manufacturing process behind spiral welded turbine towers will enable a new segment of highly efficient domestic steel mills to supply the wind industry.

Manufacturing costs and logistics are two challenges to rapidly integrating more renewable energy into the U.S. power system. This is especially true for tall land-based wind turbines, but Colorado-based Keystone Tower Systems is changing how wind turbines can be manufactured, transported, and installed. Taller land-based wind turbines harness and generate more power than shorter ones, […]
Wind Systems staff

October 2023

Unlocking big savings: The role of predictive maintenance in component reliability

Predictive maintenance strategies deliver benefits beyond those of a typical drivetrain condition monitoring system.

As demand for clean energy rises, the wind industry is scaling rapidly to keep pace with the energy transition. With Wood Mackenzie expecting 1.4 TW offshore wind capacity to be connected by 2050, wind developers and operators are facing a myriad of pressures to maximize efficiency, minimize maintenance costs, and ensure sustainable energy production. Among […]
Dr. John Coultate

Time to repower your wind-energy site?

Repowering is an investment opportunity for the facility owner, enabling owners to retrofit power plants on existing sites with new and/or refurbished technology.

To take advantage of better technology and current tax credits, wind-energy facility owners are repowering their sites, often before the end of the turbines’ expected service lives. Through repowering, owners can boost power capabilities, sometimes by running fewer machines, as well as add to the grid without investing in an entirely new facility, experiencing significant […]
Brian Tri, Wes Karras

September 2023

Exploring wind potential in the Gulf of Mexico

Despite challenges, wind energy in the Gulf of Mexico could be the beginnings of major offshore development in the region and beyond.

The August 29 federal auction of Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) in the Gulf of Mexico marked the first major opportunity for offshore wind developers to plant their flag in this high-potential region. The three lease areas totaled roughly 301,746 developable acres, enough to support 3.7 GW of offshore wind generation, an amount that would deliver […]
John Begala

Taking advantage of renewable energy potential

In Canada, renewable energy is growing quickly – twice as fast in 2022 as it did the previous year – but it has the potential for so much more, as Canada accelerates its progress on the pathway to net-zero.

Ahead of Electricity Transformation Canada, the country’s largest renewable energy and storage conference, Wind Systems sat down with the Canadian Renewable Energy Association’s President and CEO Vittoria Bellissimo to discuss the potential of renewable energy across Canada today. Canada continues to make major inroads into moving the country to a net-zero carbon future. For proof, […]
Kenneth Carter

August 2023

Greases for slow and steady wind-turbine bearings

In the ocean or on remote mountainsides, grease lubricants help slowly rotating wind-turbine main shaft bearings reliably support their huge loads year after year.

Wind turbines use the same types of mechanical components as other mechanical systems — bearings, gears, and drive shafts — but their size, operating conditions, and environments pose numerous challenges not observed in, say, the automotive industry. Wind farms are usually in remote locations, for example, far from manufacturing plants and maintenance personnel. Newer turbines […]
Nancy McGuire

Laying the foundation for wind turbines now and in the future

A variety of solutions is currently available for today’s common wind-turbine foundation challenges, with more solutions on the horizon.

In 2000, the average land-based wind turbine had a hub height of 190 feet, a rotor diameter of 173 feet, and produced 900 kW of electricity. Today, those numbers have skyrocketed, with the average land-based wind turbine now standing 55 percent higher at 295 feet, using a rotor diameter more than two times as large […]
Brian Tri, Matt Johnson

July 2023

Medium voltage cables for wind-power collection systems

Medium-voltage underground distribution cable allows for the low-loss transport of electric power generated by wind-collector arrays.

Extruded-dielectric medium voltage (MV) power cables make up the backbone of underground power distribution systems. The construction of MV underground distribution cable provides for a safe, reliable, and economical method of moving electricity where the use of overhead lines is not practical. Transporting power from collector arrays on a wind site is no different. Long-term […]
Michael Joseph

Wind-turbine construction safety tips

10 ways employers can help protect workers from a variety of hazards and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries on the job.

Wind-turbine construction and demolition can be dangerous if proper safety measures are not taken. There are many hazards to be aware of, such as falls, electrical hazards, and heavy machinery operation, and steps that can be taken to ensure the safety of all involved. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), wind-turbine construction […]
Online Safety Trainer

June 2023

More options than ever for condition monitoring

But dynamics are shifting for those who require oil analysis service – and those who provide it.

By Mary Beckman

Oil and other lubricants are the lifeblood of vehicles, industrial machinery, agricultural equipment, and anything else with gears, bearings, and other mechanical bits. And like human blood testing, testing a bit of it can reveal whether its host is healthy and in good shape or has some underlying concern that might cause illness. If you’re […]

Bearing and gearbox failures: Challenge to wind turbines

The review of current trends in wind-turbine bearings is important, not only for reducing the cost of energy, but also for ensuring the future of sustainable and zero-emission energy sources.

By Andrea R. Aikin

With ever increasing energy requirements, the energy sector is seeing an unparalleled growth in renewable energy production with wind energy in the lead. Land-based, utility-scale wind farms offer the lowest priced energy source currently available at between 2 to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour. [5] As of the fourth quarter 2019, the American Wind Energy Association […]

May 2023

New Policy Blows New Life into Wind

Despite a down year, wind power prospects improve significantly with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Long-awaited policy certainty provides a critical shot-in-the arm for the wind industry, leading to a growing pipeline and reinvigorated domestic supply chain. Last year will go down as a transition year for the wind industry. Build volumes slowed considerably from record levels set in 2020 and 2021. Project delays plagued developers as supply chain challenges, […]
John Hensley

Combating Crew Challenges in Offshore Developments

The United States has ambitious plans to develop a world-leading offshore energy sector; however, regulations to embolden its domestic capabilities could limit its progress to increasing offshore wind footprint.

In 2021, several key pledges were made to revolutionize the United States’ offshore wind-energy sector in the first weeks of the Biden administration, including new targets to generate 30 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030 (“30 by 2030”) and 110 GW by 2050 to catch up with expansive offshore wind development projects in Europe […]
Erland Ebbersten

Planning your CLEANPOWER 2023 experience

A list of wind-related businesses exhibitingat the premier clean-energy trade show.

3S Lift Booth #: 4041 ABB Booth #: 4253 AABL A/S Booth #: 1237 ABS Wind Booth #: 2322 ACS – Apprenticeship Booth #: 3720 Acuren Booth #: 1752 Adolf Thies GmbH and Co. KG Booth #: 3923 Aegis Onshore, Inc. Booth #: 540 AES Booth #: 1915 Aggreko, LLC Booth #: 4433 Alltite, Inc. […]
Wind Systems staff

April 2023

Logistics capacity crunch could jeopardize offshore wind targets

The required expansion of offshore logistics risks adding further costs and delays to the energy transition amidst increasing supply chain costs, raw material shortages, and shrinking subsidies, so the offshore wind industry needs to adopt a more efficient model of expansion.

The IEA predicts we must build more than 70 GW of new offshore wind capacity each year until 2030 to achieve net zero, and we have yet to address the enormous expansion in global logistics capabilities that this will require. With 80 percent of the world’s offshore wind resources lying in deep waters, we will […]
Dave Acton

AI Turbocharges Renewables: Successfully Scaling a Diversified Fleet

Artificial intelligence is the catalyst to full-feature performance optimization that owners and operators need to ensure continuously profitable operations, enabling them to deliver on PPA commitments while ensuring worker safety and the achievement of sustainability goals.

The global community’s expectations for corporations have changed as climate-related catastrophes continue to strike with increasing devastation. In 2020, Bloomberg investigated board members across 20 European and U.S. organizations and found that “the greening of global finance had not yet reached the boardroom.” As the world reels from a turbulent geopolitical landscape, the vulnerabilities and […]
Robert Budny

Planning your CLEANPOWER 2023 experience

A list of wind-related businesses exhibitingat the premier clean-energy trade show.

3S Lift Booth #: 4041 ABB Booth #: 4253 AABL A/S Booth #: 1237 ABS Wind Booth #: 2322 ACS – Apprenticeship Booth #: 3720 Acuren Booth #: 1752 Adolf Thies GmbH and Co. KG Booth #: 3923 Aegis Onshore, Inc. Booth #: 540 AES Booth #: 1915 Aggreko, LLC Booth #: 4433 Alltite, Inc. […]
Wind Systems staff

March 2023

Case Study: Inspecting Wind-Turbine Bearings

By investing in machines that can check the quality control of engineered bearings, companies can further push their green-energy initiatives.

Recently there has been a significant increase in demand for larger bearings up to 1,200 mm in diameter for use in the construction of wind turbines, which promises exponential growth in the coming years as countries across the globe work toward meeting their green energy targets. In addition to the wind energy sector, the Dudley, […]
Chris Wright

Back and Forth with Oscillating Bearings

Bearings that don’t complete the circle have different problems compared to fully rotational bearings.

Cranes, wind-turbine blades, and airplane wing flaps all have a similar problem: The bearings that help them rotate don’t go in a full circle. Like kids on a swing or seesaw, they oscillate back and forth or up and down. Some oscillating bearings also can be thought of as carrying a load rather than rotating […]
Mary Beckamn

February 2023

Wind-Turbine Fire Risk: The Time to Act is Now

Industry attitude toward managing avoidable problems such as fire damage lacks rigor, but the time to change this attitude is now, on the eve of historic development in the wind sector.

Wind turbine fires are relatively rare. But when turbines do catch fire, the ensuing spectacle of rotating flames and falling debris is impossible to ignore. Less transparent, though, is industry-wide data on details such as how many turbines burn down and the full cost of damages when they do. Most often, these facts are known […]
Ross Paznokas

How to Refresh Offshore Wind’s Hiring Strategy to Avoid Project Delays

Across the renewables industry, creating an ample pipeline of talent remains a work in progress, with the pressure set to increase as markets grow in line with global ambitions.

Historically, offshore wind developers have relied nearly entirely on exporting expertise from Europe to fill open vacancies in developing markets. But exponential growth expected from emerging markets such as North America, Taiwan, and Japan will put a squeeze on talent. Last year, the Global Wind Energy Council estimated 3.3 million direct offshore wind energy supply […]
Jordan Mason

AI Applications in Wind-Energy Systems

Artificial intelligence can help the wind-energy sector address challenges and offer immediate improvements on several fronts.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been receiving a lot of attention in recent years, and for good reason; this technology has the potential to revolutionize nearly every industry. The renewable-energy sector is no exception. In 2021, the World Economic Forum published a paper discussing how AI could be harnessed to accelerate the transition to renewable energy, […]
Rene Morkos

January 2023

Maintenance-Free-Bolting Concept for Bolts up to M100 (4”)

ITH Bolting Technology combines digital bolting tool procedures, advanced fastener design, and installation know-how to reduce maintenance costs significantly – proven for onshore and offshore wind-turbine installation projects.

With its brand, IHF Fastener Systems, ITH Bolting Technology has developed innovative fastener systems up to M100 (4”), which are specifically designed to match the technical demands of onshore and offshore wind-turbine joints. ITH is a leading global system supplier in bolting technology providing bolting tools, engineering, fasteners, and service. The “Maintenance-Free-Bolting” concept includes the […]
Frank Hohmann

Bringing Torque Calibration to the Field

As market needs continue to change and get stricter, it is essential that state-of-the-art equipment is available to achieve the most accurate torque requirements.

Go back far enough and very few people even considered torque specifications for bolted joints. It simply came down to just tighten it as much as you can, add an extension or get a hammer, and tighten it some more. Slowly, around the time manufacturers were producing high-performance aircraft engines for WWII, the world got […]
Sam Ortolani

Lidar: The Path Forward for Wind Resource Assessment

As the wind industry continues progressing into an increasingly tech-driven space, decision makers can expect met towers to be replaced mostly by Lidars for wind measurements.

By Elvira Aliverdieva

The development of a successful wind-farm project depends on the developers’ knowledge of how much energy can be produced in the potential development area. Location-specific information regarding the wind speed, meteorological patterns, terrain, and other factors advise the siting and design of a new wind-power project. But as turbines grow taller, it is important to […]