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December 2019

Concrete spar buoy made with new materials and formwork

By using lightweight geopolymer and basalt rebar, a concrete spar buoy can be designed to withstand the sea state and its wave heights of 50 feet for more than a hundred years minimum.

More than 80 percent of the ocean resource potential is in deep water. That is ideal for floating offshore wind power. This power is located high up for strong and consistent wind. The proven spar buoy will allow offshore wind to exploit these inexhaustible wind resources. Exponential growth in floating, deep water, far-out offshore wind […]
Andy Filak

How do offshore wind farms change the wind?

The start of a new research project on wind-energy utilization could change the way wind farms are expanded on a large scale.

November saw the start of the X-Wakes “Interaction Between the Wakes of Large Offshore Wind Farms and Wind Farm Clusters With the Marine Atmospheric Boundary Layer” research project, which is being funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) to the tune of 3.4 million euros over a period of three years. […]
Wind Systems staff

Case study: Turbine ‘multi-tasking’

Wind-farm project boasts company’s special ability to provide multiple operations for turbine installation.

Argentina is serious about increasing its renewable energy resources, aiming for 20 percent of its power to come from renewables by 2025. The country has also shown it is willing to invest in new technologies to help meet its energy targets. As part of this drive, ALE completed the transportation, craneage, and electro-mechanical installation (TCI) […]
Wind Systems staff

October 2019

Additive Manufacturing in Blade Production

The rise of additive manufacturing could translate into optimizing individual tower blades for their wind and turbulence patterns at each location on a wind farm.

Additive manufacturing (AM) has been around for a little over 30 years. It brought agile development into the manufacturing world because companies could now rapidly prototype. There have been substantial scalability issues leading to no significant changes in traditional industrial manufacturing practices. However, this is rapidly changing. The introduction of new technologies, better simulation, and […]
Jacob Goldman

Extending the Lifetime of Wind Turbines

The results of lifetime extension assessments conducted by TÜV SÜD indicate that most turbines can continue to operate in a safe and economically viable way for several years beyond their defined service lives.

Wind turbines have a planned service life of approximately 20 years. Nevertheless, it has been demonstrated that many turbines are able to operate beyond their design lives. In several instances, the lifetime of a wind farm may be extended through minor and low-cost repairs. In order to establish whether a wind turbine can continue to […]
Christian Schumacher, Florian Weber

September 2019

Offshore wind’s westward expansion

As offshore wind eyes the West Coast of California, project sponsors will need to carefully consider the financing, regulatory, and permitting issues that will develop.

Permitting and financing offshore wind projects is a complex business — but one that has made great strides on the East Coast of the United States in recent years. And it makes sense that the first wave of development has focused on high-load, transmission-constrained regions of the East Coast. High power prices, coupled with relatively […]
Cherise Gaffney, Tim Taylor, Chad Marriott, Viet Nguyen

Wind energy the competitive choice for canada

Affordable, flexible, and clean, wind energy is key to a modernized Canadian electricity grid.

n Canada and around the world, wind energy is providing more affordable and clean energy than ever before. Today, wind energy is installed in more than 90 countries and is one of the fastest-growing, lowest-cost forms of electricity. Last year, Canada took eighth place in the world for total onshore installed capacity, following a decade […]
Tracy Walden

Offshore Wind is Ready for its American Moment

With the inherent synergies between offshore wind and offshore oil and gas with respect to jobs, manufacturing, and expertise, the offshore oil and gas supply chain stands to benefit in a big way from the coming U.S. offshore wind boom.

Offshore wind has arrived in the U.S., and it is poised to take flight off the East Coast. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has issued 15 active offshore wind leases which cover 1.7 million acres in the Atlantic outer continental shelf (OCS) and have generated more than $473 million to the U.S. Treasury. […]
Nicolette Nye

August 2019

MARKET OUTLOOK:  U.S. experiencing wind-power boom

The first quarter of 2019 boasts a record of more than 39,000 MW of wind-energy capacity either under construction or in the planning stages.

American wind power has seen a consistent string of strong years and so far, 2019 is proving to be no exception. In fact, in the first quarter of this year, the volume of U.S. wind-power capacity under construction and in development reached a record level. The American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) U.S. Wind Industry First […]
John Hensley

MARKET OUTLOOK: Women in renewables: Pioneers of inclusivity

The progressive, forward-thinking renewable-energy sector resonates with women and represents the future of energy-sector jobs.

It’s no secret that renewable energy is a rapidly growing market. With more than 250,000 expected new jobs in renewables by 2020 in the U.S. alone, the energy industry is seeing both men and women choosing this field over the more traditional energy fields. The idea of playing a leading role, and being at the […]
Vicki Codd

MARKET OUTLOOK: The long and windy road

Getting a wind project up and running can often seem like a pictureless jigsaw puzzle, but streamlining the regulations with new technology and old-fashioned footwork can go a long way to help quicken the process.

It may be easy to look at spinning wind turbines and not be in awe of the plethora of hoops developers have to jump through before an asset ever starts producing power. But regulations are a fact of life for almost any massive project, and wind farms, both offshore and on land, are proving to […]
Kenneth Carter

Lubricate Now, Save More Later

If a lubricant is not considered in a wind turbine’s design phase, it is more likely to experience unexpected maintenance issues as the systems age and components wear.

Wind turbines have been favored in many areas because of their ability to provide communities with environmentally friendly energy. According to Machinery Lubrication, most wind turbines are reliable 98 percent of the time. When they do fail, it is often due to failed or non-existent maintenance. Wind turbines can be expensive to operate, and any […]
Tony Dotson

Cracking down on foundation cracks

During annual inspections, it’s of paramount importance to inspect foundations every year for cracks as an integral part of proper turbine maintenance.

We all know that the highly engineered foundation is of fundamental importance to the longevity and soundness of a wind-turbine generator. Even so, foundations are all too often overlooked during regular maintenance intervals. Proper maintenance requires that foundations be inspected annually for cracks in the concrete and grout. Major cracks may be a result of […]
Joe Bruce

July 2019

The Latest Advancements in Submarine Cables Protection

Undersea cables are vulnerable to many forces — both natural and man-made, so those cables need to be designed and built with additional protection in order to make them resistant and reliable.

Even though hidden deep in the sea and invisible to us, submarine cables are of crucial importance for our daily lives. Undersea cables carry 99 percent of all intercontinental communication, which means that business and private communications, as well as financial transactions, are absolutely depending on their efficiency. Submarine power cables are deployed as well […]
Ralitsa Peycheva

Proper Care and Maintenance of Fall-Protection Equipment

It’s always important to ensure fall-protection equipment for the worker is in top shape, which means systematic care and inspection is vital.

Staying safe while working at height starts on the ground — long before a worker heads up the turbine for a maintenance or repair project. Equipment Inspections Regular inspections are the best way to always be aware of the current state of your equipment. Knowing the products’ condition will allow you to take preemptive action […]
Baxter Byrd

The Rise of the Rescue Kit

With the number of wind-energy workers on the rise, it becomes even more essential that they are equipped with the proper safety tools.

According to Energy.gov, the “United States is home to one of the largest and fastest-growing wind markets in the world.” This growth emphasizes the importance of developing an efficient and effective rescue plan for those working inside and outside of turbines. Rescue kits can be one element of developing a simple and effective rescue plan […]
Samantha Heim

June 2019

Monitoring wind turbine oils

Oil analysis and condition monitoring for wind turbines is being done using online sensors.

Most wind turbines tend to be in remote locations, making physical access to the gears, bearings, and control systems difficult and not always practical. Condition monitoring programs for wind turbines generally include time-scheduled oil analysis. Unfortunately, servicing of wind turbines is often limited to specific times each year. When the first large wind turbines were […]
R. David Whitby

The science behind A superior wear-resistant coating for roller bearings

How Timken engineered ES302, a better way to avoid costly mainshaft and gearbox repairs in wind turbines.

Steel-to-steel contact is why many bearings fail, why proper lubrication is critical, and why The Timken Company, manufacturer of engineered bearings and power transmission components, works hard to develop advanced surface coatings that combat the problem in the toughest conditions. To extend the life of roller bearings operating in wind turbines, Timken developed ES302, a […]
Doug Lucas

Modern ice detectors for turbines and drones

Turbine ice can be hazardous to people and things, limit energy production, and add stress to blades and towers. Solutions have been complex and expensive – until now.

One ice detector solution for OEMs and operators is to borrow off-the-shelf technology from the global telecommunications industry. Smart phones are manufactured in extremely high volumes around the world. This has forced the price of optical lasers and LEDs down to just pennies apiece. Plastic optical fibers are likewise made in vast quantities, with prices […]
Richard L. Hackmeister, Peter Nyegaard Jensen

May 2019

Demand for wind drives record year

Companies thirsty for renewable alternatives, technological advances, and the potential of offshore are just a few of the driving forces that propelled wind energy into a successful and profitable 2018.

American wind power continued to push forward and reach new heights in 2018 — it was a record-setting year for corporate wind purchasing as customer demand for affordable, reliable, and clean energy continued to rise. Technology progressed further and more of the country’s electricity came from wind energy than ever before. That also means more […]
John Hensley

Hydrogen-based wind-energy storage

Hydrogen as an energy storage medium provides an alternative pathway that not only helps to integrate renewable power generation, but also enables the decarbonization of the transportation and natural-gas sectors.

Renewable wind and solar technologies are bringing power to millions across the world with little-to-no adverse environmental impacts. There are a significant number of large new offshore wind farms due to come online over the next few years, and the overall capacity of all wind turbines installed worldwide by the end of 2018 reached 600 […]
Angus Brown, Rob Harvey

The Future of Wind Energy

Positive growth throughout the wind energy industry is achievable with wind turbine maintenance software.

The worldwide increase in demand for renewable energy has fueled the investment and technological advancements in wind turbines. But the largest opportunities are not necessarily the newest designs or the largest turbines — they are in the maintenance processes used to maintain existing turbines and install future turbines. The winds of change are blowing, and […]
Genevieve Pfeiffer

April 2019

Competency-based training

As the need for more technicians continues to grow, the Wind Turbine Technician Academy at Kalamazoo Valley Community College is making sure those techs are properly qualified.

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. It offers a […]
Thomas Sutton, Delia Baker

Shaping the future of the workforce

The need to ensure wind-energy O&M technicians are properly trained, as well as motivated to continue that education, becomes a priority.

With the recent end of the Scottish government’s Transition Training Fund, the future of energy workers’ jobs is facing a challenge. How can we help mold the future of wind operations and maintenance with the best quality training and skill development? Key challenges We have seen an increase in applications for rotor-blade repair and maintenance […]
Tom Dyffort

March 2019

Wind Farms of Tomorrow • Automating Visual Inspections with Drones and AI

AI-based autonomous drones can complete visual inspections for the entire turbine in as little as 15 minutes, which is 10 times more efficient than traditional methods.

Today, wind energy contributes more than 6 percent of the nation’s electricity supply, more than 10 percent of total electricity generation in 14 states, and more than 30 percent in four of those states. However, as with other renewable energies, the wind-power industry still faces many obstacles. One of the biggest challenges to growth remains […]
Yan Ke, Ph.D.

Seven Years of Solid Results

Field testing confirms the long-life potential for Timken™ wear-resistant mainshaft bearings in wind turbines.

Most wind turbines are built for a 20-year lifespan, but as many owners and operators have come to find out, problems with original mainshaft bearings can arise at any time — often within the first few years. The Timken Company, as a bearing and mechanical transmission solutions leader, has been active in the North American […]
Caleb Chovan

February 2019

Protecting Wind-Turbine Bearings

Common failure modes can be pre-empted to reduce the likelihood of premature bearing failures.

While wind-turbine functionality relies upon fully operational rolling bearings, these precision components typically will be buffeted by a wide variety of adverse — sometimes extreme — operating conditions and environments. As a result, damage modes can develop, potentially jeopardizing bearing performance and service life and, in turn, a turbine’s reliability and productivity. Fully understanding common […]
Dayananda Raju

Maintaining a maintenance plan

The cost of not applying an adequate O&M strategy at a wind farm can add up quickly.

Even though predictive maintenance has proven its ability to avoid unscheduled stoppages and faults in critical components, there are still many companies that fail to consider new monitoring technologies in their maintenance plans and strategies. Often, predictive maintenance is considered as a cost and not as an investment with return, which is far from the […]
Edgar Martínez De Aguas

The state of the art of gearboxes

Regularly scheduled maintenance keeps turbines spinning, and the proper lubricants can extend the period between checkups.

Much has been written about the global growth in the wind turbine industry. Today, more than 341,320 wind turbines are operating worldwide. In particular, the number of offshore installations has exploded in the past seven years (Figures 1-2). The continuous reliability gains in the industry have caused the cost of wind-turbine electricity to drop significantly, […]
Mark Michaud

January 2019

Where Bolting Meets Safety

The correct tools in a wind technician’s arsenal can greatly enhance a safe work environment while maintaining joint integrity.

With operator safety at the forefront of all industrial operations across the globe, tooling manufacturers are presented with the opportunity to create equipment with unique, innovative safety features to service the demanding safety-conscious needs of the market. U.K.-headquartered OEM, HTL Group, is a long-serving innovator to the controlled bolting sector with its constant evolutions of […]
Faye Mann

Meeting the challenges of bolts and torque

Bolt installation in wind turbines can range from the simple to the complex, so it’s important to know the pros and cons of all methods used.

Depending on the maker, a wind-turbine installation can include 25,000 bolts or more. These bolts follow different journeys to their final destination where correct installation is critical in order to keep these massive structures safely functional in high-load situations. Whether the bolts are parts of an assembly put together in the factory, installed by technicians […]
Ken Maio

Giving clean energy a second wind

With the innovative use of Lidar, it’s possible to extend a wind farm’s life.

In a highly forested area of Sweden, the landscape is studded by wind turbines whose stately blades are slowly turning under the watchful eye of what appears to be an electronic sheep. This is the light detecting and ranging (Lidar) device from Wood. It is helping the owners of this particular wind farm to better […]
Alan Mortimer