Home Archives

Archives

December 2012

PTC or not, the wind industry is an ever-changing landscape for post-warranty maintenance

PTC or not, the wind industry is an ever-changing landscape for post-warranty maintenance. Taking a thorough look at the project before the end of warranty is always an important element to consider before the turbines trade hands.

As we round out 2012, it is remarkable to know that the greatest number of wind turbines ever in a single year, some 30,000, will have reached their end of warranty over the past 12 months. Regardless of whether the PTC is renewed or not, the project operator’s focus on optimizing O&M costs and improving […]
Merritt Brown

Excess vortex-induced vibrations wreak havoc on offshore wind turbine mooring lines

Previously, I discussed the fluid-structure interaction problems in floating offshore wind turbines. One of these problems is vortex-induced vibrations of mooring lines. In an offshore wind platform, the mooring lines are used to provide a sufficiently stable platform for the wind turbine. The interaction of the mooring line and the fluid flow around it can […]
Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi, Ph.D.

If properly prepared, trained, and equipped, people — not solely technology —€“ can be the strongest link in your supply chain.

  One of the laws of supply chain I have learned is the law of people. Or as I like to put it: Just because you bought that new $600 titanium driver doesn’t make you Tiger Woods. People still have to make key supply chain decisions. Technology is a great tool when it comes down […]
Michael Graska

October 2012

Advanced planning for foul weather is important when moving overweight cargo and assets

It is the end of summer and I am finally taking a break after a busy summer building schedule. As I relax on the beach, I reflect on all the wind components that have been moved. Because of the economic and political environment it has been a robust season. And it is not over yet. […]
Michael Graska

Economic curtailment and its potential impact on wind energy growth following implementation of FERC Rule

Recent regulatory developments continue to further the trend of increased participation by wind energy generators in the forward energy markets. This trend potentially places wind energy generators at greater risk of economic curtailment, which can result in lower investment returns and decreased project development. On June 21, 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) approved […]
Michael C. Gibbs, Dickson C. Chin

Some of the best ideas that have improved working conditions have come from people who have seen things differently

What nuggets of innovation are under our noses, held quietly in the minds of the young men and women who simply wish for a different, yet better way to do their job? Read on to be inspired about the future of the wind industry. Anyone who maintains a wind turbine has a sense that our […]
Merritt Brown

Multi-rotor wind turbines may be a novel solution to increase energy output offshore

Offshore wind turbines continue to grow, with the latest technology having rated powers of six to seven MW, and rotor diameters as large at 150 meters. There are a number of factors driving this growth, in particular the desire to increase the energy capture per offshore support structure. Because of the high fixed cost associated […]
Matthew A. Lackner, Ph.D.

September 2012

Recently patented innovations address technical problems facing the wind power industry

The value of patents to the wind power industry is evident when studying recent patents. A search for patents related to wind power systems that issued within the past twelve months yielded over 1100 results. These patents cover a broad scope of subject matter, and include many innovations that address the technical and practical problems […]
Kelsey I. Nix

Common workdays provide interesting stories about wind farm construction

Crane Service, Inc has a diverse history since we opened back in 1960 when Emmet Storks opened our first branch in Albuquerque. Our growth was directly related to the growth of Albuquerque. We have been a silent partner in the building and construction of iconic buildings to the less known industries. We pride ourselves in […]
Chris Martin

In-house telephotographic blade inspections reduce repair costs and turbine down time

As we know, wind turbines must be periodically inspected and maintained throughout the twenty plus year life of the turbine. Gearboxes, generators, drive motors, bearings, and electrical components are commonly inspected and maintained on a scheduled basis. Oddly enough, the blades, which are the largest of the operational components and the first critical component that […]
Craig Guthrie

Have a PIP Method in place to plan, identify, and process shipments to deal with damaged cargo

After working 25 years in the supply chain business there are two things that I personally know as true. One: forecasts are almost always wrong and if not you are lucky. And two: no matter how well you plan, secure and protect the shipment, cargo can still be damaged. I’d like to talk on the […]
Michael Graska

August 2012

Crane business is booming in Texas

Crane business is booming in Texas and this company provides fast response, skilled workers, and safety to get the job done.

In the past decade, Justin Moffett has seen significant changes in the wind energy market. From his home base in Sweetwater, Texas, Moffett says wind turbines dot the horizon in every direction. Row upon row of turbines that were once considered a nuisance to the local citizens are now just part of the landscape.    […]
admin

How we can make our hazards more conspicuous and safer

In an effort to reduce hand and arm injuries, we should learn from the research on high visibility clothing and how we can make our hazards more conspicuous and safer.

In my earlier days of working in power generation facilities, it was common policy to give the new guy a bright red hardhat so that everyone else could look out for him and help him learn the ropes of the facility. Though such a policy may have inadvertently sanctioned the amusing initiation of a new […]
Merritt Brown

Fluid-structure interactions in floating offshore wind turbines are among the most critical studies needed

While onshore wind energy has been the world’s fastest growing energy source for more than a decade, there is an increasing interest in using offshore wind turbines especially in deep water. The interest is mainly because of higher and more consistent wind speed offshore: no size limitation on the blade size due to the road […]
Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi, Ph.D.

Association and member companies work on transporting topics and permitting processes for wind industry

Since 1948, member companies of the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA) have built a reputation for lifting, hauling and positioning massive items with precision and accuracy. Additionally, the association’s Allied Industries members produce the specialized equipment, professional engineering, insurance, legal counsel and other products and services that make such monumental tasks possible. SC&RA member […]
Terry White

July 2012

Micro wind nacelles have a major impact while being kind to the environment

Going green doesn’t necessarily mean that you must erect an 80, 90, or even a 100-meter tower. Micro wind nacelles have a major impact while being kind to the environment.

Going green doesn’t just mean building the highest and biggest mW hour nacelle. There are many other facets to the wind industry that in some circles go unnoticed. It is easy to give attention to the projects that involve the biggest economical impact, but sometimes the smaller projects tend to be more interesting. If we […]
Chris Martin

Some critical subsystems remain in the capable hands of the wind technician

Despite sophisticated control systems on modern wind turbines, some critical subsystems remain in the capable hands of the wind technician to monitor their integrity and safe operation.

It was not so long ago that control systems utilized physical indicator lights and annunciators to provide a warning system of system faults on operating equipment. Despite the advancement in technology from these time-tested control panels to high-tech computer monitoring systems, somehow they still lack the capability to remotely monitor some critical subsystems that are […]
Merritt Brown

Graphical Processing Units offer a promising solution for parallelizing computations of N-body problems

Graphical Processing Units offer a promising solution for parallelizing computations of N-body problems and drastically accelerating computations.

Unsteady aerodynamics caused by platform kinematics represents a significant increase in system complexity for offshore wind turbines. Offshore floating wind turbines (OFWTs) present significant advantages over conventional offshore fixed foundation wind turbines, and can harness the vast deep water wind resource while avoiding many of the public acceptance issues that have impeded near shore development. […]
Matthew A. Lackner, Ph.D.

Logistics planning becomes more difficult with uncertainty about the future of wind energy tax credits

Unlike previous years, AWEA Windpower 2012 held in Atlanta, had less than stellar attendance. Unfortunately, the attendance downturn will very likely parallel the downturn in wind turbine installations next year. The reasons are well known and include the uncertainty of tax credits, tight credit and general global economic forces. Everyone I talked to at the […]
Michael Graska

June 2012

Many factors play a role in successfully coordinating crane service for wind park maintenance

In the past few months we have discussed crane rigging, types of cranes, and how to remove blades. This month we will be taking a step back and discussing the behind the scenes of wind park maintenance. Clients will ask if we can get the crane on-site in a few days or within a few […]
Chris Martin

Tuned liquid column dampers offer a robust and cost effective means for reducing loads on floating turbines.

Tuned liquid column dampers offer a robust and cost effective means for reducing loads on floating wind turbines.

Offshore floating wind turbines (OFWTs) may hold the key to large-scale offshore wind energy. They can operate in deep waters, far from shore where visual impacts are negated and where the wind resource is generally strong and consistent. However, OFWTs have significant challenges as well, in particular the increased loading on the blades and tower […]
Matthew A. Lackner, Ph.D.

The Seven Laws of Supply Chain Management

In this installment we discuss the Seven Laws of Supply Chain Management that represent supply chain discipline and problem solving.

From one my favorite books, “A Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck, the opening line is “Life is difficult.” And as Dr. Peck states once we recognize this it starts to become less difficult.  The difficulties are often represented as problems and it is how well we solve these problems that indicates the wellness […]
Michael Graska

Where a gearbox oil sample is taken is just as important as how it is taken

Where a gearbox oil sample is taken is just as important as how it is taken. As this second installment of a two-part series explains, it’s all about obtaining the most evidence from the best possible location.

In our previous installment we explained how wind technicians can use their physical senses to diagnose some common wind turbine gearbox problems while up tower. The color and smell of the oil, for example, can relate to such abnormal operating conditions as oil degradation, water emulsification, and solids entrapment. These properties can quickly tell a […]
Merritt Brown

May 2012

Wind speeds change at various heights, making hoisting projects on wind farms particularly challenging

Wind speeds change at various heights, making hoisting projects on wind farms particularly challenging. All the more reason to hire experienced operators.

In past months we have learned about the maintenance process, rigging techniques, and the different crane types relative to the wind industry. This month we are going to take a look into how the wind speeds change at various heights. The wind speed changes can help reduce wear and tear on the wind components in […]
Chris Martin

Maintenance professionals can use their physical senses to detect gearbox problems

In addition to the latest technologies, maintenance professionals can use their physical senses to detect gearbox problems, as this first in a two-part series makes clear.

Armed with some experience and a bit of awareness, there are several ways in which a technician can diagnose wind turbine gearbox problems while uptower. Using the physical senses, it becomes relatively straightforward to listen for noises coming from the gearbox, to observe surface damage on the gearing, and to observe the color and smell […]
Merritt Brown

Uncertainty in the soil properties can have effects on the reliability of offshore turbine support structures

Uncertainty in the soil properties can have significant effects on the reliability of offshore wind turbine support structures with monopile foundations.

While offshore wind turbine technology has evolved from its onshore predecessor, engineering experience in the offshore oil and gas industry has also contributed to the design and analysis methods utilized in offshore wind. In particular, the method utilized in the design of the support structure for an offshore wind turbine (OWT) has its roots in […]
Matthew A. Lackner, Ph.D.

Lessons learned during a career that helps keep projects on track

Reporting straight from the jobsite, the author relates lessons learned during his career that help keep projects on track.

Problems, issues, delays, deadlines… things that make your project not to go as planned. This is what I am writing about in this installment of my column, since I am on a project site dealing with all of the approve. The last four days working a load-out of wind towers as the project manager have […]
Michael Graska

April 2012

Winds that make a wind farm an attractive site can also make it a difficult project for crane operators

It’s strange to think about, but the very winds that make a wind farm an attractive site for producing electricity can also make it a difficult project for crane operators.

Over the last two months we have looked at the capabilities of cranes in maintenance and construction applications. This month we are going to discuss the wind in relation to the cranes themselves. There is a certain paradox in the fact that capturing the wind is the whole purpose of erecting a wind tower and […]
Chris Martin

Validating tightness can help foresee failure issues in bolted flanges

Whether it’€™s a broken bolt found on the deck or a loosened nut discovered during a torque check, validating tightness can help foresee failure issues in bolted flanges.

Maybe you’ve heard this one before: “A technician walks into a wind turbine and finds a broken bolt lying on the floor.” Not as humorous as one might think, actually, because this means something above has come apart or is about to fail. If this technician has worked on turbines for years, he might recognize […]
Merritt Brown

Optimizing passive tuned mass dampers can greatly reduce loads in offshore floating wind turbines

Optimizing passive tuned mass dampers can greatly reduce loads in offshore floating wind turbines, leading to more viability in deep waters.

As offshore wind energy projects move farther offshore into deeper waters, wind turbines on floating platforms instead of the traditional fixed bottom platforms become more economical. Floating platforms have been used with success in the offshore oil industry, but there are a number of engineering challenges associated with offshore floating wind turbines (OFWTs). One important […]
Matthew A. Lackner, Ph.D.

A logistics quality system involving three basic elements will lead to better outcomes

A logistics quality system involving three basic elements ‘€”metrics/measurement, process/procedure, and reporting/repair’ €”will lead to better outcomes.

I am often asked how important quality systems are in logistics. I always answer by saying that it depends on the scope of the transportation. If the scope of transport is relatively noncritical, then the need is less than for critical transport. For example, a simple LTL—or “less than truckload”—transport requires less of the attention […]
Michael Graska

March 2012

Techniques used in wind park construction

There is both science and math at the core of all rigging techniques. In this installment we discuss techniques used in wind park construction.

Wind park maintenance, as we learned last month, can be quite the rigging challenge. If we focus on the flip side of the coin, wind park construction, we will see that rigging challenges exist here as well. This month we will take a deeper look behind the scenes of rigging. We are going to learn […]
Chris Martin

With the increase in megawatt output, turbines and associated components pose maintenance challenges

With the increase in megawatt output, wind turbines and associated components pose maintenance challenges. Here is the second of a two-part series on the issue.

This month we continue our conversation about safe practices for wind technicians. Inarguably, one of the more demanding tasks of a wind technician is to enter a rotor hub and perform any form of maintenance in this small space. An entirely uncomfortable position for the human body, working in such an area where leverage angles […]
Merritt Brown

Offshore floating turbines offer a compelling means of harnessing the massive resources available in deeper waters

Offshore floating wind turbines offer a compelling means of harnessing the massive resources available in deeper waters, but you must understand the physics that underlie their behavior.

Most utility-scale wind turbines look the same: three blades, tapering in spanwise chord and twist from root to tip, rotor located upwind relative to the nacelle. This apparent convergence of designed form implies a thorough understanding of the aerodynamically-derived forces acting on a wind turbine. In reality, wind turbine aerodynamics are exceptionally complex. These complexities […]
Matthew A. Lackner, Ph.D.

Planning and preparation are critical to any successful project

Planning and preparation are critical to any successful project, but indecision is the enemy of efficiency. Timely decisions keep schedules on track.

The contract is finally signed, and everyone lets out a sigh of relief. Six months of hard negotiations hammered home an agreement. The only problem now is that we only have two months allotted time to start the project ramp up, when even in ideal situations it takes four months. Hey, we got the contract, […]
Michael Graska

February 2012

With the increase in megawatt output, larger turbines and associated components pose maintenance challenges

With the increase in megawatt output, larger wind turbines and associated components pose maintenance challenges. The first in a two-part column addresses technician safety issues.

As the MW output of modern wind turbines continues to scale upward, the components of these machines increase in size. Maintenance tasks associated with replacing critical components that have historically been handled by one technician are now outside the physical limits of a single person. Though some turbine manufacturers are taking a more proactive role […]
Merritt Brown

SKF’s new high-capacity cylindrical roller bearings are designed for gearbox applications

SKF’s new high-capacity cylindrical roller bearings are specifically designed for wind turbine gearbox applications, offering high performance and improved reliability.

SKF has introduced a new version of its high-capacity cylindrical roller bearings in a separable design that enables the separate mounting of inner and outer rings. The new SKF Separable High-capacity Cylindrical Roller Bearing merges the advantages of separate mounting and high load-carrying capacity. In launching this version, SKF builds further on the success of […]
Andreas Urban

For logistics experts, years of experience in the field leads to an in-depth knowledge of your profession

For logistics experts, years of experience in the field leads to an in-depth knowledge of your profession. Here are a few hard-earned pointers.

With the New Year comes new resolutions, and like many of you I have made a resolution to lose some weight. My quest led me to read Michael Pollen’s book Food Rules, which provides a healthy approach to food and diet. I really like this concept of “simple to live by” rules, and it got […]
Michael Graska

January 2012

A post warranty preventative maintenance program, coupled with predictive maintenance, will reap benefits for owner/operators

Establishing your own post warranty preventative maintenance program, coupled with predictive maintenance, will reap benefits for owner/operators.

One of the leading reasons why wind energy development is such an attractive investment opportunity today is that if developed, operated, and maintained appropriately the project will have a relatively short payback period with a long future of profit generation. This presumes that the turbine is operated efficiently for its 20-year life, that major components […]
Merritt Brown

Variability is the ‘ghost in the machine’€ when it comes to supply chain efficiency

Variability is the ‘ghost in the machine’€ when it comes to supply chain efficiency. Learning what the variations are will increase your chances of incurring unnecessary delays.

I was attending a supply chain networking event recently when the discussion turned to problems within supply chains. Several of the senior executives at the table were complaining about spending millions on software and other technologies and still not seeing the results they’d expected. A friend at the table who knew my background asked what […]
Michael Graska

Proper maintenance procedures will prolong the lifespan of your wind turbines and related components

Proper maintenance procedures will prolong the lifespan of your wind turbines and related components, and new technologies are being developed to simplify the process.

In the wind power industry, the sheer diversity in the design and size of wind turbines represents a challenge for the growing number of service companies offering maintenance and repair. Individual turbine power has increased as well as the number of wind turbine installations. Wind turbines are normally designed for an operational life of 20 […]
John Skiller
X