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December 2018

The path to American offshore wind

Proven vessel concepts adapted based on operator preferences are critical to taking the risk out of U.S. offshore wind.

The U.S. offshore wind market is finally heating up. This is evidenced by the likes of Deepwater Wind being acquired by Ørsted — bringing opportunities for the market to scale up — as well as Siemens Gamesa adapting its turbines to U.S. standards and predicting higher revenues for 2019 as it moves into this emerging […]
Andy Page

Advancing offshore construction

The floating wind turbine sector requires advancement in the development of foundations and mooring systems.

Slowly but surely, the floating offshore wind-energy sector is becoming more important, particularly because of the fact that the number of locations with shallow waters suitable for fixed-bottom foundations is limited. Floating wind is turning into a highly scalable future energy source because the wind resource in deep waters is extensive and offers a significant […]
Ralitsa Peycheva

Construction management services: The key to success

Beyond safety, each step of the way during the construction of a wind farm, there needs to be checks and balances to ensure the project remains on track.

Each year in the U.S., new wind-farm developments get built and are placed into production. This process does not happen by accident and includes years of hard work to get to that end. These wind farms have budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars. The risks are high, but then the benefits and rewards can […]
Judah Moseson

October 2018

The Winds of Change

Assessing the profitability of a repowering project

Repowering an existing wind site can be a daunting task. Typically, you will face one of two scenarios: In one scenario you will “repower” your aging wind turbines with newer, larger rotors and upgraded drive train components, generator, and converter systems using existing tower structure. For the other “typical” scenario, however, you are tasked with […]
Roger Smith, Paul Smart, Steve Struebig

 The Rise in Capacity Factor

Larger blades optimized for low-wind class siting support the trend of driving up turbine capacity factor.

Wind energy is enjoying a tremendous lift because of stable U.S. policy as well as the global markets where targets reducing greenhouse gas emissions range from 20 percent to 30 percent over the next five years. However, the common driver that has served the industry best is the dramatic rise in turbine capacity factors that […]
Steve Nolet

Main shaft bearing lubrication

Main shaft bearings are a critical component in the driveline of a wind turbine, and selection of the right lubricating grease is essential in the prevention of premature bearing damage.

Wind power is advancing rapidly. From the ongoing proliferation of onshore turbines to an increasingly attractive offshore market — where technological advancements have made it more feasible than ever before to bring highly powerful farms online — there is opportunity to be seized. Getting the most of that opportunity requires reliable operation and dependability in […]
Douglas Lucas, Kuldeep Mistry

September 2018

The Case for a Jones Act WTIV

Wind turbine installation vessels (WTIVs) will allow for faster and more efficient offshore construction.

Offshore wind farms in the U.S. have been talked about for years. The pioneering effort that brought the industry this far has not been without casualties. These haunt many an investor to this day. Notwithstanding the history, the promising projects that are underway could not have been possible had the drivers not taken the past […]
Ajay Suda

Canada’s lowest-cost power option

As Canada moves toward a low-carbon energy future, economical wind energy will be indispensable for meeting climate commitments

Canada is the ninth largest wind-power producer in the world, with an installed capacity of 12,723 MW. At the beginning of 2018, we had 295 wind farms, comprising 6,415 individual turbines. There are wind facilities in every Canadian province and territory except Nunavut. More wind capacity has been built over the past decade than any […]
Robert Hornung

August 2018

STATE SPOTLIGHT: Wyoming – Harnessing wind’s potential

Wind power is on the verge of turning Wyoming into a major player in the field of renewable energy.

Wyoming has some of the best wind in the country, but the Cowboy State’s contribution to renewable energy has been sporadic at best, ranking it 16th in the nation of wind energy production, according to a recent study by the University of Wyoming. That study’s ranking translates to roughly less than 1,500 MW of wind […]
Kenneth Carter

MARKET OUTLOOK: Balancing advancements and risk

While there are still a number of risks for project owners to consider, what’s clear is that renewables projects are seemingly trending toward more advanced technologies at lower costs.

Greater decarbonization efforts are driving the continued advancement of clean power. As a result, cost-competitive renewable technologies — such as solar and wind — are increasingly being incorporated into the global electricity grid. By 2040, the share of all renewables in total power generation is expected to reach 40 percent — by which time the […]
Jessica Williams

MARKET OUTLOOK: East Coast Offshore Wind Outlook

When it comes to the offshore wind industry, progress is being made with a regional approach.

There is no question that 2018 is emerging as a watershed year for the offshore wind energy industry in the U.S., with several large wind farms having their site plans approved and states increasing their commitments and goals for offshore wind energy. In the midst of this energy and excitement, we need to keep in […]
Liz Burdock

MARKET OUTLOOK: The Wind Revolution

Forecasts and trends show American wind power is on track to supply 10 percent of the country’s electricity by 2020.

t turns out that tapping into a free and abundant natural resource that exists everywhere is among the cleanest and most efficient ways of producing electricity. Investments and innovations over the past decade have brought wind’s costs down to their lowest levels ever — 66 percent cheaper than in 2009 — making wind power a […]
John Hensley

Significant energy benefits

Sine pumps optimize high viscosity resin delivery for Enercon, one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers.

One of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers, Enercon, is using MasoSine SPS sinusoidal pumps from Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group to optimize the delivery of protective impregnating resin at its Magdeburg production facility in Germany. These robust and efficient positive displacement pumps were selected for their powerful suction capability. Ring generators Among the core wind-turbine […]
Russell Merritt

A Foundation of best practices

Understanding what to look for today can save millions tomorrow when it comes to inspections and maintenance of turbine foundations.

As our fleet of wind turbines continue to age, understanding the structural integrity of its foundations becomes increasingly important. With millions of fatigue cycles annually, the punishment foundations must withstand is immense. When constructed properly and maintained within engineering specifications, the foundations are up to the task. However, when subjected to neglect, the minor deficiencies […]
Jesse Tarr

July 2018

Innovations in current transducers

Smaller, more efficient, more accurate sensors can be used for a variety of wind-turbine applications.

Current transducers are a key electronic component of wind-energy turbine converters. They assist the power control system, protect the drive, and help feed energy into the grid system at a controlled frequency and voltage. Innovations in current transducer design are spurring the adoption of smart grid technologies and improving the performance of turbines and other […]
John Marino

Aspects of wind safety

Wind technicians should be properly trained for any possible emergency scenario, so they know what to do if the need arises.

Safety plays a key role every day as a wind technician in the field, whether in the nacelle or on the ground. As turbines get taller and production starts to move offshore as well, what are the training aspects of safety that keep the technicians safe? It starts with the interview process, where questions are […]
Trent (Legend) Nylander

The mysterious met tower

Met-tower maintenance is an often-overlooked necessity in order to keep a wind farm functioning properly.

What can be 198 feet tall but be overlooked as easily as the infamous missing 10-millimeter socket? While meteorological (met) towers are a critical part of the initial planning and assessment for energy production, there is a strong likelihood that your met tower is an unfamiliar asset and may in fact need a little TLC. […]
Roger Smith

June 2018

Boosting operating efficiency

Predictive maintenance based on vibration monitoring can raise the efficiency of wind turbines by preventing catastrophic failure and unscheduled downtime.

The cost of maintenance in the wind-turbine industry is escalating: A report from GlobalData estimates that the cost of turbine maintenance will rise to about $17 billion in 2020 — nearly twice that of 2014. It’s because the number of turbines is increasing — including many old ones that require more frequent maintenance. For an […]
Martin Armson

Tackling turbine security

Turbine hardware and software aren’t made in a bubble, which sparks the need to tackle security vulnerabilities.

One wind turbine can create 18 full-time jobs in the U.S., and so even detractors are having a hard time ignoring wind power’s momentum. The challenge for the coming years, however, is plant security. The industry is looking at a challenge from grid operators and regulators: How can the wind industry support efforts leading to […]
Robert Weber

Protecting critical equipment

How tribology can help extend machinery service life.

Tribology is the science of interacting surfaces in relative motion. Basically, it studies friction, wear, and lubrication — three phenomena linked to surface degradation and, thus, to machine reliability and performance. When machines wear out, they perform worse, are less productive, and finally, begin to fail as a result of mechanical damage. A major reference […]
Edgar Martínez De Aguas

May 2018

Skill is just the beginning

Iowa Lakes Community College teaches its future wind technicians more than just how to repair turbines.

Building a professional workforce is an essential, but often overlooked, component of wind-energy development. Thanks to private landowners in the heartland, wind-energy development is now a mainstay in rural communities that needed a modern hedge against agricultural and fossil fuel volatility. “Our diplomas represent more than degrees,” said recent graduate John Kleppinger. “They represent drive, […]
Dan Lutat

Competency-based training

The Wind Turbine Technician Academy at Kalamazoo Valley Community College teaches master skills that are highly sought after in the wind-energy industry.

Creating an educated workforce skilled to meet the demands of a changing economy is the focus at Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Groves Campus. Originally opened in 2001 as one of 18 M-TEC facilities across the state, the Groves Center was financed by a $5 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, plus $6 million […]
Thomas Sutton, Delia Baker

Rising Costs of Wind O&M and the Importance of the Human Factor

Advanced mobile and cloud-information technology can be a potent tool in helping wind technicians and their managers get better results.

As fleets age and the cost of wind-energy O&M rises, wind-farm owners and operators look far and wide for ways to achieve efficiency. In this article we look at the importance of the human factor and examine key challenges faced by companies and their employees. We look at how readily available advanced mobile and cloud-information […]
Babak Sardary

April 2018

Cheaper Wind Equals More Wind

As wind power becomes more affordable and cost effective, its reach across the U.S. widens — 41 states are now home to utility-scale wind farms.

American wind energy continues to power forward to reach new heights. Today, it powers more U.S. families and businesses than ever before — the country now has enough installed wind capacity to power more than 28 million American homes. That means wind has become a key contributor to our electricity mix, and the days of […]

Cheaper Wind Equals More Wind

As wind power becomes more affordable and cost effective, its reach across the U.S. widens — 41 states are now home to utility-scale wind farms.

American wind energy continues to power forward to reach new heights. Today, it powers more U.S. families and businesses than ever before — the country now has enough installed wind capacity to power more than 28 million American homes. That means wind has become a key contributor to our electricity mix, and the days of […]
John Hensley

The World of Turbine Bearings

Recent technological innovations show how far bearings have evolved in meeting operational demands and improving productivity and profitability.

The operational challenges for wind turbines can be daunting, whether related to increased turbine power and size, extreme weather conditions, heavy loads, and/or remote locations, among many others. In turn, significant advances in rolling bearing designs, materials, and engineering have helped to realize enhanced performance, reliability, and service life at all points in wind turbines. […]
Dayananda Raju

The Business Value of Digitalization

It goes beyond creating a digital model of a turbine for operations and maintenance.

Digitalization may mean something different depending on who you are talking to in the wind industry. For some, digitalization is about getting ahead of unplanned failures and focusing on the operations and maintenance (O&M) problems that occur annually in a fleet. For others, it may be converting analog turbine data, like maintenance records, to digital […]
Karen Cassidy

March 2018

Verifying remote sensing devices

DNV GL and Group NIRE establish new verification site for RSDs.

Edition 2 of the International Electrotechnical Commissions (IEC) 61400-12-1 standard for power performance measurements was released in early 2017. This new standard codified the use of remote sensing devices (RSD) for primary wind-speed measurement in power-curve evaluations in simple terrain. Use of RSD requires verification of each device against a reference meteorological (met) mast before […]
Luke Simmons

Priming the grid for green

Moving from 30 to 3,000 MWs offshore wind means rethinking the transmission grid.

Connecting the East Coast’s first offshore wind development (Block Island Wind Farm) to the electric grid involved installing new overhead and underground lines onshore, upgrading substations, installing a new substation and switching station, laying 20 miles (and 5 million pounds) of submarine cable from Block Island to the site, and overcoming those water complications. To […]
Liz Burdock

Improving the friction power of gears and bearings

Proper lubrication can extend the overall contact fatigue life of gearboxes by a factor of 3.3.

A machine that runs endlessly without any wear and frictional losses — who wouldn’t dream of that? Unfortunately, such a machine does not exist yet. However classic car fans know that through solid technology and ongoing service, cars can even outlast their owners. However, this does not happen with machinery of all industries. In the […]
Stefan Bill

Small component, big reliability

Fiber optic rotary joints are being considered more and more as a replacement for conventional precious metal contacts in wind turbines.

When extremely high-speed data communication is a necessity in a wind turbine, one solution is a fiber optic rotary joint (FORJ). While not a new component, FORJs are becoming more prevalent with the need for reliable data transmissions in even the harshest of environments and applications. A fiber optic rotary joint is used in wind […]
Jesse Shearer Sr.

February 2018

Extending the life of wind-turbine components

Specialized PVD coatings, nitriding increase the durability and lifespan of turbine components.

With the increasing demand for carbon-free renewable energy, more companies are turning to wind power as a source for their energy needs. Although this presents a good deal of potential for the manufacturers of wind turbines and their components, the technological challenges of providing a reliable product that operates with minimal maintenance or repair is […]
Jeff Elliott

Monitoring wind in cold climates

The ability to keep track of potential ice build up on turbine blades can significantly reduce maintenance costs.

Wind-farm operators in cold-weather climates such as Canada, Sweden, and parts of the United States are confronted with unique operating challenges. When faced with extreme temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius or lower, atmospheric icing becomes the leading cause of a variety of challenges. And in cold-weather climates, where icing is a frequent occurrence for up […]
Michael Clarke

Changing Turbine Gearbox Oil

Technology automatically changes oil in a fraction of the time it would take with traditional methods.

Wind turbines remain a significant component of alternative electricity generation. The traditional design of such turbines includes a rotor, a generator, and a gearbox, which converts rotation of the rotor into generator-shaft rotation. Although a different design of the wind-power units was developed in the 1990s with synchronous generators and frequency converters without the need […]
Frank May

Torque loading: Standards have limits

Part 2: Specific industry standards for wind-turbine drivetrains include gear-failure modes.

(Editor’s note: This article on torque loading is presented in two parts. Part 1 on how drivetrain components are important in analyzing component performance appeared in the January issue of Wind Systems.) The IEC standard 61400-4 (2012) is the latest standard for wind-turbine drivetrains. Although AGMA/AWEA 6006-A03 was reaffirmed in 2016, 61400-4 is one of […]
Paul Baker, Doug Herr

January 2018

The Role Of Lidar In Offshore Wind Measurement

Insights into the rise of Lidar as the primary measurement system used in the offshore industry.

The advanced wind-measurement capabilities of Lidar have unleashed tremendous opportunities for the offshore wind industry. After years of successful validation campaigns, offshore professionals are now favoring Lidar over met masts for wind-resource assessment, power-performance verification and wind-farm optimization. Gathered at a Lidar User Seminar hosted by Leosphere at the Offshore Wind Conference 2017, leading wind-measurement […]
Peter Spencer, Florian Rebeyrat

Torque Loading: Standards Have Limits

Part 1: How drivetrain loads are important in analyzing component performance.

Editor’s note: This article on torque loading is presented in two parts. Part 2 will discuss the specific industry standards for wind-turbine drivetrains and will appear in the February issue. As wind energy has moved from a niche market to mainstream, the industry has focused more on the lowest cost of energy or LCOE. Technological […]
Paul Baker, Doug Herr

The Critical Component For Torque Equipment? ISO 17025

From OEMs to tower installers to service contractors, any group that uses torque equipment should be using ISO 17025 calibrated equipment

There are thousands of bolted connections in each wind turbine. Whether it’s the largest tower bolts or the smallest electrical box connections, every bolt and application has a torque specification. Choosing which tool to use to calibrate those bolts may seem to be the most important decision, but it’s not. For both safety reasons and […]
Tom Macey