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December 2021

The greening of offshore wind-farm construction

To help achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, materials and construction processes used in offshore wind-turbine-generator structural platforms should be reevaluated in order to reduce carbon emissions as well as costs.

The offshore wind industry needs to substantially increase the durability, strength, and environmental sustainability of its wind-turbine-generator support structures while reducing the carbon emissions associated with construction materials and processes. The changes proposed below are not only environmentally ethical, but fiscally responsible, and these long-term benefits become even more significant as future offshore wind projects […]
Andy Filak

Why technology matters for the wind industry

Embracing the potential of digital management systems for offshore energy support vessels.

The scale of wind deployments is increasing rapidly, with offshore wind farms becoming larger and more remote, bringing both greater energy production potential and greater challenges for the industry’s suppliers and contractors. Amid these new challenges, the pressure on the wind industry to deliver on objectives, exacerbated by the expectations outlined at COP26, has already […]
Christian Adams

Case study: Wind farm built despite challenges

Extreme weather conditions in rural Illinois force Boldt to build Lone Tree Wind Farm’s wind towers at night.

Most construction crews build on urban or suburban sites and transport equipment on existing roads, but in the world of wind farms, extreme conditions are the norm. For the Boldt Company, neither wind nor weather, nor dark of night got in the way of completing a challenging wind farm in rural Illinois. Leeward Renewable Energy’s […]
Mary Schmidt

October 2021

Keeping up with market needs

How wind-energy providers can scale their operations to keep pace with growing demand.

Stronger focus on net zero goals is driving a huge surge for wind power. According to recent reports, 2020 marked the wind-energy sector’s best year so far with 93 GW of capacity installed globally due to soaring demand. While land wind energy growth in the U.S. hit record levels and saw investment of $24.6 billion, […]
Muhammad Malik

Formulating load-sharing behavior in epicyclic gears for wind turbines

This article validates an analytical model for estimating load sharing of three-planet epicyclic gear sets that has been reformulated for wind-turbine gearboxes to consider the effects of gravity related to carrier-bearing clearance and moments from the rotor.

In an ideal epicyclic gear set, every parallel gear path transmits the same amount of torque. However, it is well known that certain manufacturing variations result in unequal load sharing between the parallel gear paths. Previous works have developed and validated a general closed-form analytical model of this phenomenon that describes the load-sharing characteristics of […]
Jonathan Keller, Yi Guo

High-volume shredding of oversize turbine blades now possible

Cost-effective, innovative shredder designs eliminate catastrophic breakdowns, production downtime by upgrading points of vulnerability and enabling simultaneous shredding and chipping.

In the wind-power industry, when turbines are eventually decommissioned or wind farms upgraded in a process called repowering, wind-turbine blades must either be disposed of or recycled. However, giant composite fiberglass wind-turbine blades, which can be up to 80 feet long and weigh many tons, have been challenging to shred and recycle. Even after the […]
John Neuens

September 2021

Canada’s energy future looks bright

As Canada preps for a zero-carbon future, cost-competitive technologies will serve to address new demands and emerging opportunities.

With a global pandemic wreaking havoc and uncertainty on so many industries over the last 18 months, anyone watching the news would expect it to also have a negative impact on the renewables sector. But, surprisingly, that has not been the case — at least, not in Canada. Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Renewable […]
Kenneth Carter

Floating wind developers: It’s time to think smarter

Implementing designs that address improvements to the turbines, platforms, and mooring systems will lead to increased effectiveness and longevity, which allows for less maintenance — meaning less risk and greater safety for the workers maintaining and repairing them.

The offshore wind industry has yet to reach its full potential. But, over the last 10 years, innovative designs and advanced technology has lowered the levelized cost of energy (LCOE). Even with this rapid progress, offshore wind is still in its infancy as a go-to energy production and consumption source. Recent advancements have allowed wind […]
Jon Salazar

Offshore Wind: The new gold rush

A variety of factors are making the offshore wind industry a strong candidate for growth, but market dynamics are creating uncertainty; while traditional players are pursuing aggressive growth strategies, new entrants are reshaping the landscape.

The offshore wind industry is gaining momentum thanks to ambitious environmental targets, competitive costs, and huge market potential. This renewable source of energy provides an optimal load factor, minimizing the need for electricity storage or complementary dispatchable sources of energy. The public sector has been rushing the field with new players, including oil and gas […]
Romain Debarre, Michele Catanzariti, Giuseppe Tornabene

August 2021

Automating wind-turbine lubrication for sustainability

With more demands on lubricants and the importance of the function they provide, it is clear newer technologies will be needed to secure their continuous quality.

Since the beginning of the use of lubricants 5,500 years ago, there have been constant efforts to find ways to keep the lubricant clean and last longer. Early lubricants required frequent replacement. How did we know it needed replacing? Wheels started falling off carts at regular intervals. Folks knew that they needed to re-lubricate before […]
Mickey Walsh

Elevating hub heights of offshore WTGs without elevating cost

The new advanced direct drive wind turbine generators require strong winds to turn their large blades. Larger, stronger towers are necessary to reach the higher elevations where the wind blows consistently.

Currently, the strength of a large direct drive wind turbine generator (DD/WTG) tower is achieved using various grades of steel that can affect the weight and cost of the structure. The lower the grade of steel, the lower the cost but the higher the weight. A higher grade of steel can reduce the weight of […]
Andy Filak

July 2021

Technology, infrastructure key to U.S. offshore success

Offshore wind is vital to President Biden’s pledge to reduce carbon emissions in the U.S., but challenges such as LCOE decreases, supply chain issues, protracted regulatory approvals, and the continued need for investment to upgrade the onshore transmission network remain.

The Biden administration made news earlier this year with a bold pledge to reduce the United States’ carbon emissions by at least 50 percent by 2030. This target more than doubles the country’s prior commitment under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement when the Obama administration set out to cut emissions 26 to 28 percent below […]
Ragnhild Katteland

Turbines and fire risk

As more and more wind turbines are being built, dealing
with the possibility of a turbine fire should be an important step for the wind-farm owner-operator.

The wind industry is undergoing a period of unprecedented growth as part of the nation’s efforts to fully decarbonize the U.S. energy system by 2035. Tens of thousands of wind turbines are expected to be installed over the next few years — and with this boost in numbers comes both an increase in expected frequency […]
Angela Krcmar

Safe continued operation of wind turbines

After 20 years, most wind-energy converters (WEC) reach the end of their design life. Where subsequent repowering is not an option, operators must assess whether continued operation may be a viable alternative to dismantling.

For design reasons, most wind-energy converters (WEC) have a design life of 20 years. At the end of this period, owners or managers can choose whether to either dismantle or repower the WEC, or continue its operation. Dismantling is the inevitable option in the long term, when servicing and maintenance costs of the WEC exceed […]
Christian Schumacher, Florian Weber, Paul Taylor

June 2021

The need for met-tower maintenance

Met-tower maintenance is an important part of an owner-operator’s fiscal budget and helps ensure every wind farm has an optimally functioning met tower.

In an age where the cost for everything is rising at an alarming rate, the last thing companies want to add is another expense. Asset management, risk mitigation, longevity of wind-farm investments, and the budget are at the top of every wind-farm owner-operator’s mind. What are the financial costs, liability risks, and data-accuracy implications of […]
Sam Mohler, Cora Faith

Drones can make inspections safer

Traditional offshore wind-turbine inspections come with significant risks for workplace accidents; however, the use of drone technology can change that by offering long-term cost benefits and improved efficiency.

Offshore wind capacity around the world now tops 31.9 GW, with expectations of an additional 11.8 GW growth by year’s end. Market development is expected to continue, especially as newcomers such as the U.S. expand their reach and countries such as Brazil enter the market for the first time. But offshore wind turbines remain vulnerable […]
Marla Keene

Providing predictive healthcare

A day in the life of a diagnostic service provider for wind turbines.

The Brüel & Kjær Vibro (B&K Vibro) monitoring and diagnostic group plays a very special service role in the operation and maintenance of wind turbines. In close cooperation with the wind-farm owner/operators, it manages machine problems from even before any fault is detected, right up until after the faults are diagnosed and fixed. This article […]
Mike Hastings

May 2021

Expanded U.S. wind-energy capacity

Researchers conduct study to determine the impact of wind-energy capacity on the efficiency of electrical-power production and surface climate.

Extensive research is underway to determine how to maximize the amount of electricity generated from wind power. This work is important because it will determine how optimally to expand wind-energy capacity. In a TLT article [1], a theoretical study was conducted to predict locations in the U.S. where wind farms should be located. The authors […]
Neil Canter

The United States’ far offshore wind-turbine challenge

Our carbon-neutral future requires clean renewable energy, and the time is now for the U.S. to develop a new generation of systems necessary to harness the sustained winds found far out at sea.

More than 40 percent of the U.S. population lives near the coast, and the demand for clean sustainable energy is skyrocketing. Renewable energy is important to many Americans but so is a pristine waterfront view. The clear solution is harnessing deep-water, far offshore wind, allowing for consistent 24/7 energy production with turbines so far out […]
Andy Filak

Wind powers through pandemic

Despite disruptions imposed by COVID-19, the wind industry saw a record year of development in 2020, and 2021 and beyond looks to be even more robust as offshore wind begins to take off in the U.S.

2020 was not the year most people expected as the COVID-19 pandemic swept worldwide. However, it was a banner year for U.S. wind energy, despite the pandemic’s widespread disruptions. The U.S. market saw a record year in 2020 with developers commissioning 16.9 GW, representing an 85 percent increase over 2019. These new additions can provide […]
Jesse Broehl

April 2021

U.S. offshore wind primed for growth

As wind energy in the U.S. moves offshore, the industry should take note of lessons from the U.K. on preparing and training for health and safety.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, wind power in the United States has tripled in the past decade. It is now the largest source of renewable energy in the country. While the U.S. has been harnessing onshore wind energy for the past decade, the price of offshore […]
Duncan Higham

Training a homegrown offshore wind workforce

The inaugural class of recruits in Centura College’s first-of-its-kind turbine technician program is learning the tools, terminology, and climbing skills that will be essential for maintaining wind farms.

Alan Glore’s decision to enroll in the business management program at the Centura College of Allied Health and Trades campus around the corner from his house in Newport News seemed like a logical career move. After all, Glore reasoned, the commute was short, he would be crowning his associate’s degree in social services with a […]
Elizabeth McGowan

March 2021

Protecting turbines from high-frequency voltage

High-frequency voltage can be destructive to a turbine’s bearings, but technology exists to properly ground it before it can inflict any damage.

The generator within a wind turbine is capable of producing up to 5 MW of electricity. An unfortunate side effect of that is that voltage can build up within the generator itself. That voltage naturally runs to ground, but along that path, the voltage arcs through the bearings within the generator’s rotor. This constant discharge […]
Kenneth Carter

Applications of magnets in wind turbines

Magnets are being used to lower costs, improve reliability, and increase maintenance intervals in many wind farms around the world.

Permanent magnets play a critical role in some of the world’s largest wind turbines. Rare earth magnets, such as powerful neodymium-iron-boron magnets, have been used in some wind-turbine designs to lower costs, improve reliability, and reduce the need for expensive and ongoing maintenance. Wind turbine generators In 1831, Michael Faraday created the first electromagnetic generator. […]
David Piper, Judith M. Guido

Wind turbine control methods

Exploring the fundamental concepts and control methods/techniques
for wind-turbine control systems.

Wind-turbine control is necessary to ensure low maintenance costs and efficient performance. The control system also guarantees safe operation, optimizes power output, and ensures long structural life. Turbine rotational speed and the generator speed are two key areas that you must control for power limitation and optimization. The “Control Methods” and “Control Strategies” sections of […]

February 2021

Preventing lightning damage to turbines

Even though there have been many technical advances that aid in reducing lightning damage to wind assets, the bottom line is continued maintenance is the only real way owner-operators can protect their investment.
By Allen Hall

Wind-turbine damage caused by lightning strikes seems unavoidable. After all, wind-turbine farms by their nature are located in a very active weather zones. But with today’s maintenance methods and lightning protection techniques, the actual downtime caused by lightning damage can be significantly reduced. It all comes down to knowledge and proactive decision making. Changing How […]
Allen Hall

Reducing Costs from the Ground Down

A new type of wind-tower foundation could provide construction cost savings while having the benefit of performing longer.

To lower the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) generated by wind energy, the next generation of wind-turbine foundation solutions should be optimized to reduce the design and construction costs of wind turbines. These advanced foundation solutions help fill the gap following reduction in the production tax credit (PTC) benefits and lower capital expense for the […]
Blair Loftis

The Importance of being Proactive

Improving wind-energy production through videoscope inspections of wind turbines.

A wind turbine’s gearbox, generator, and blades are the focus of intensive maintenance because (1) they’re subject to a lot of stress and wear and (2) they are costly parts to repair. Although gearbox failure is relatively rare — once a decade on average — the downtime for a wind turbine while waiting for this […]
Masakazu Wada

January 2021

Detecting loosened bolts on offshore wind turbines

In the normal operation of an offshore wind turbine, bolts can loosen due to long-term operation and exposure to vibration; however, a proposed device could help detect loosened bolts before extensive damage can occur.
By Wang Fei and Qu Jun

For the problem of loosened bolts in the long-term operation of an offshore wind turbine, we proposed a device to detect loosened bolts. The device included a vibration sensor, a signal receiver and transmitter, a CCD sensor, a data analyzer, power supply, a communication line, and a power supply line. The combination of a data […]
Wang Fei, Qu Jun

Maintenance-Free-Bolting concept for bolts up to M80 (3 1/8”)

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.

ITH Bolting Technology is a leading global system supplier in bolting technology providing bolting tools, engineering, fasteners and service. Under their brand, IHF Fastener Systems, ITH has developed innovative fastener systems up to M80 (3 1/8”), which are specifically designed to match the technical demands of onshore and offshore wind turbine joints. The “Maintenance-Free-Bolting” concept […]
ITH Bolting Technology

Using Lidar to reduce uncertainty in offshore wind development

With offshore wind development accelerating globally, Lidar is reducing uncertainties and meeting many previously unmet needs for offshore developers and operators throughout each stage of a project.

Offshore wind development is gaining momentum around the globe. Expected to constitute more than 20 percent of total wind energy installations by 2025, offshore wind is growing in both near-shore environments and in deeper waters farther from the coast. The United States, supported by a combination of federal incentives and state-level targets, is witnessing strong […]
Elvira Aliverdieva