Home Archives


December 2017

Successful Wind Farms Start Underground

With its beginnings in apple orchards, this company has returned to its green roots by machining large parts for the wind-power industry.

The Great Dismal Swamp was once a place “where the abundant growth and vegetation of nature, sucking up its forces from the humid soil, seems to rejoice in a savage exuberance, and bid defiance to all human efforts either to penetrate or subdue.” That was according to Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose novel, Dred: A Tale […]

Offshore wind farm installation vessels have come a long way, keep evolving

With its beginnings in apple orchards, this company has returned to its green roots by machining large parts for the wind-power industry.

With the installation of the first operational wind farm by Deepwater Wind off the coast of Rhode Island and the promise of the U.S. offshore wind market, there is a scramble to provide the assets necessary to transport and install offshore wind turbines. The available assets in Europe may not be suitable for the 8- […]
Ajay Suda

A proper balancing act

With its beginnings in apple orchards, this company has returned to its green roots by machining large parts for the wind-power industry.

If you’re involved in wind power or another endeavor with elevated work, you likely already know that a dropped object prevention program is important. Some might say: “The first step is admitting you have an opportunity.” Once acknowledged, the bigger question is: “How do we get there?” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 519 […]
John Tremblay, John Martell

November 2017

Profile: Helukabel

For almost 40 years, Helukabel has produced literal miles of high-quality cable for the wind industry and other heavy industrial areas.

Helukabel USA might be one of the few companies that can measure its success in actual miles. In just the past five years alone, Helukabel has produced and sold more than 6,214 miles of its torsion-rated cable products, according to Kevin Siegel, product and marketing manager for Helukabel. The company has been supplying cables for […]
Kenneth Carter

Wind: Texas’ drought-tolerant crop

With its beginnings in apple orchards, this company has returned to its green roots by machining large parts for the wind-power industry.

Many factors came together to make wind power in Texas a force to be reckoned with in the energy sector. Geography and natural resources are important elements to be sure, but it also took ingenuity and the forethought to capitalize on that. With the opening of Southern Power’s Bethel Wind Farm in Castro County, Texas, […]
Kenneth Carter

October 2017

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Technologies exist that can melt ice on a wind-turbine blade or keep it from forming in the first place

In the sleepy town of Lunderskov, Denmark, there’s a 22-meter-long room that is climate controlled at minus-30 degrees Celsius. Dubbed the Ice Lab, it’s a place where LM Wind Power engineers can study the effects of freezing weather conditions on wind-turbine blades and determine how best to mitigate them. As wind energy gains prominence around […]
Dr. Rosemary Barnes

Chasing the Value

Innovation and industry maturity have brought additional options to gearbox repair and replacement.

In any industry, value is often in the eye of the beholder. What works for one company may cost another significantly. Five years ago, Gearbox Express (GBX) introduced Revolution for the Sle platform because a majority of those turbines were 5 to 8 years old. The theory was these assets would run 20-plus years in […]
Brian Hastings

September 2017

Wind Powering Canada to a Low-Carbon Future

Within the past 11 years, Canada has built more wind-energy capacity than any other form of energy generation.

Globally, wind energy is one of the fastest growing major sources of new electricity around the world, with installations of more than 55,000 MW of clean, reliable wind power in 2016 alone. More than 80 countries have now installed wind-energy facilities. The U.S. is the second largest market with more than 82,000 MW, capable of […]
Robert Hornung

From Megawatts to Gigawatts

Offshore wind market to make prominent ground in the global energy mix; Europe to continue its dominance in the regional landscape.

Corresponding to the demands for decarbonization and diversification of energy portfolios, the offshore wind market has witnessed a commendable proliferation on a global scale. Offshore wind has traversed indeed a remarkable jaunt pertaining to its deployment, from a few megawatts of installed capacity since the first commercial scale wind farm commissioned in 2002 to a […]
Shikha Sinha

Critical Components Essential as Wind Power Scales Up

Offshore wind has unique considerations that require technological expertise and a close, collaborative partnership.

The wind industry continues to post impressive numbers. The American Wind Energy Association recently reported a strong outlook for 2017, with second quarter figures indicating a 40 percent uptick in wind development activity over the same time last year. Part of that boost in activity includes momentum in U.S. offshore wind-power development, something that may […]
Doug Lucas

August 2017

MARKET OUTLOOK: Continuing an American Success Story

Wind power to keep booming in the years ahead.

Over the past few years, wind, solar, and natural gas have made up nearly all new electric generating capacity in the U.S. And earlier this year, wind energy surpassed conventional hydropower to become the country’s largest renewable resource, with enough installed to power 25 million homes. But what about the years ahead? Will this American […]
Hannah Hunt

MARKET OUTLOOK: PTC Phase-out Spurs Unprecedented Growth

The 10-year outlook for the U.S. wind industry highlights yet another boom-and-bust cycle.

The global wind industry is no stranger to seizing opportunity as incentive schemes expire. In key markets, including China and Germany, installation totals ballooned in the months and years before subsidy expirations. The U.S. is no different, and the legislated phase-out of the Production Tax Credit, or PTC, will drive an unprecedented four-year installation total […]
Anthony Logan

MARKET OUTLOOK: Sooner, Not Later

Oklahoma’s wind industry has moved to third in the nation for installed energy, as well as surpassing its renewable energy goal two years ahead of schedule.

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain… Renowned composers Rodgers and Hammerstein are much better known for their iconic musical numbers than being energy prognosticators, but when their first collaboration, “Oklahoma!,” premiered on Broadway in 1943, no one could have foreseen their lyrics coincidentally giving a nod to the future of renewable energy […]
Kenneth Carter

MARKET OUTLOOK: Wind Boom to Continue

PTC and innovation expected to drive growth in wind market, O&M, and jobs.

The wind energy market boom is expected to continue in 2017 as the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) drives new wind-project development and boosts the already lively O&M market. In fact, the industry has seen so much growth that “wind-turbine technician” was the fastest growing job in the U.S. last year. The past year saw […]
Lisa Cohn

Lubrication Technologies for the Wind Farm

Finding the proper lubrication for wind turbines is essential for the best performance and longevity.

When wind turbines go down due to equipment failure or maintenance issues, the resulting unplanned shutdowns and time-consuming maintenance fixes can exact a heavy toll. When such incidents occur, wind farms must deal with exorbitant crane mobilization expenses, lost energy production, soaring costs per kilowatt-hour, and untimely delays in obtaining replacement parts in a burgeoning […]
Dayananda Raju

Foam Rings and Turbine Foundations

Foam rings are still used in the grout trough of a turbine foundation to prevent the grout from making contact with the anchor bolts.

When it comes to wind-turbine foundations, it seems appropriate to reflect on the traditional way foundations have been built and how their structural integrity can be improved and, at the same time, save money and enhance safety. One of the traditional ways foundations are built has been by using foam rings in the grout trough […]
Joe Bruce

July 2017

Turning Tower Lights Off

FAA manager discusses the history and future of obstruction lighting.

Jim Patterson, manager of the FAA’s airport safety R&D section at the William J Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey, talks about obstruction lighting control for wind turbines. Lundquist: There are some people who object to the wind-turbine aircraft warning lights at night. There is technology that allows the lights to remain off […]
Capt. Edward Lundquist

Aluminum Vs. Copper Conductors

How to reduce cost through the electrical cable supply chain.

Each year at the AWEA WINDPOWER expo, there seems to be a buzz within each sector of the wind industry’s supply chain. This year was no different. Within the wire-and-cable industry, everyone is talking about continued cost reductions in the supply chain. Two cost areas in particular are the overall cost of the supply chain […]
Bruce McDonald

Analysis of Aged Wind Turbines for Continued Operation

Many factors are considered in assessing aged wind turbines for continued operation through and beyond their design lives.

As the global population of wind turbines continues to increase, large portions of the population are aging and ultimately approaching the end of their design lives. By 2020, approximately 65 percent of the U.S. fleet, comprising 30,000 turbines, will have been in operation for more than 10 years.1 Similar situations exist in other countries that […]
Torstens Skujins, Joseph Rakow

June 2017

Approaching Zero Downtime

ServiceMax uses the Internet of Things in the field to help companies save money, resources, and improve customer satisfaction.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That cliché can take an ominous turn when it comes to big complex systems like the ones that make up wind-farm turbines. In that world, when something does finally break down, it has the potential to cause a lot of damage to an unprepared company’s bottom line. But […]
Kenneth Carter

Maintaining the Green-Energy Progress

Polymeric solutions aid turbine maintenance, keeping renewable energy’s future bright.

The renewable energy market is continuing to go from strength to strength, with 2016 marking a series of impressive milestones versus conventional, fossil-fueled energy. Certainly, one of the most remarkable was global investment in new renewable energy infrastructure surpassing that spent on new fossil infrastructure1. This statistic reinforces how climate change policies and low-carbon initiatives […]
Thomas Belli

May 2017

Leveraging Blade Management Software

EdgeData returns to WINDPOWER 2017 after a busy year of developing tools to improve its turbine-blade inspection software.

The days of mind-numbing hours reviewing hundreds, even thousands of wind-blade pictures to find the areas of damage, and classifying that damage, are soon to be going the way of corded telephones. Like that 20th-century relic, technological advancement has brought opportunities to create more efficient ways of conducting business. Advancement in robotics, image capture, data […]
Chris Shroyer

The Power of Data

Real-time data collection is being used to optimize turbine performance and profitability.

The operations and maintenance of wind farms is experiencing a renaissance. With the constant evolution of faster computers, instant data acquisition, high-speed processing, and advanced analytics, large amounts of data are available for real-time reliability diagnostics and prognostics and asset performance optimization. Asset-related data now can be readily collected from various sources, such as the […]
Andrea Miller

Wind Works for America

U.S. wind power is on track to supply 10 percent of the country’s energy needs by 2020.

The numbers are in — America’s top renewable energy resource continues to grow, fostering economic development and delivering clean, low-cost energy across the country. Just as important, all the data indicate we can expect this growth to continue in the years ahead. AWEA’s U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, Year Ending 2016, released in April, […]
John Hensley

April 2017

More Wind, More Jobs

The wind industry heads for new heights — and it will need a strong workforce to keep it soaring.

The Department of Energy recently announced there are now more than 100,000 jobs in the wind industry. That’s the good news. The better news is that job-growth trend should continue as wind energy becomes an even bigger part of the power-generation picture. “Right now, it’s as strong as it’s ever been,” said Suzanne Tegen, wind […]
Kenneth Carter

Perspective: A Post-Millennial’s View: Deciding to Study Wind

While watching YouTube recently, an ad popped up at the bottom of the video. My immediate reaction was to hit the “X” and get back to Julian Edelman’s ridiculous Super Bowl catch. But I didn’t. The ad that caught my eye was about the school I go to: Ecotech Institute — “Enroll today for a […]
Jack Wolfe

Condensing the Curriculum

Top five topics wind schools should be teaching future wind-turbine technicians.

Today’s wind-energy technology students want to compress their education into a year or less so they can enter the industry workforce right away. Similarly, industry employers can’t wait two years or longer for technicians to gain the skills and knowledge needed to be highly capable and trainable wind-turbine technicians. They need good technicians now. This […]
Walter Christmas

March 2017

Anatomy of a Component Upgrade

A systematic view of a wind turbine can offer benefits.

As turbines come out of warranty, turbine owners absorb the costs of failed components but they also gain an opportunity to make reliability and power improvements. Component upgrades that owners often face include bearings, lubrication, cooling and filtration, condition monitoring, power increases, and load control. A systematic view of the turbine can often benefit owners, […]
Paul Baker, Doug Herr

Keeping Tabs on Parts and Systems

Monitoring vibrations from shipping through the lifespan of a turbine is an effective way to prevent costly downtime.

To avoid the need for costly repair or even replacement, sophisticated equipment in any industry should be accurately monitored and observed to identify maintenance needs before they escalate into true problems or equipment failures. Vibration monitoring is one of the most effective indicators of operational issues and the need for preventative maintenance in wind power, […]
Paula Simoes

Diagnosing Wear Faults

High-throughput screening of wind-turbine gearbox samples using the LaserNet 230 and automatic sample processor (ASP).

The major issue for premature failure in wind-turbine gearboxes is bearing failure, which leads to gearbox failure. A wind-turbine gearbox will not survive if the oil is not clean and especially if the hard ferrous particles are not removed from around the bearings.1 The LaserNet 230 particle counter and ferrous debris monitor has been shown […]
Tom Barraclough

February 2017

New Database for Hundreds of Test Reports

Computer program summarizes test results from periodic turbine inspections.

Throughout the service life of a wind-energy turbine, managers of large wind-farm portfolios have to cope with a veritable deluge of information. In addition to electronically transmitted operational data, there are various documents — such as licenses, invoices, and maintenance and repair reports — that contain important information for optimizing operation. And last but not […]
Thomas Arnold

January 2017

Improving Joint Integrity

Three-part approach helps to reduce costs and increase production and quality.

The wind-energy market has been calling for the need to reduce maintenance costs now and especially after the production tax credits expire. Mechanical joint integrity accounts for a large portion of the maintenance scope. Torkworx, being a leader in controlled bolting solutions, has a laser focus on power generation. It has been pivotal in the […]
Pete Fuller

Bolting Technology Advancements

Understanding the difference between transducerized and current-control tools.

Why is using a transducerized tooling system important? To understand that importance, the accuracy difference between transducerized and current-controlled tooling needs to be explained. Current Controlled Current-controlled (open loop) tools are a dedicated system consisting of a tool, cable, and controller. They are pre-calibrated in a lab using an external transducer on a rundown fixture. […]
Paul Bundy