To understand someone’s situation, as the old saying goes, you’ve got to walk a mile in their shoes. That is certainly the case with Merritt Brown, vice president of Rev1 Renewables, who brought 25 years of experience working at power plants around the world when he joined the company in 2009. “I managed nine wind energy projects in California, as well,” he says, “so I have a deep understanding of third-party services both as a provider and on the receiving end as a customer.”
That understanding includes taking knowledge gained in related energy markets and “systemizing” it to address the highly specific needs of the wind industry. A division of Rev1 Power Services, which was co-founded by longtime power generation professionals Rick Ehrgott and Dick Emery in 2001, Rev1 Renewables provides a host of services to the wind industry. They include construction management and support, technical consulting and training, wind project staffing, gearbox inspections and oil replacement, BOP infrared testing, and blade and pole line inspections. In particular, end of warranty (EOW) turbine inspections have taken on added importance throughout North America in recent years.
“Wind farms typically feature turbines manufactured by the same OEM, so we employ wind technicians who have in-depth training on a particular make,” Brown explains. “We ascertain what type of turbine a customer is using in advance, and then send the corresponding specialist to service their needs.”
In addition, inspection records are documented via the company’s proprietary Rev1 Tracker maintenance management system and posted online so that customers can log in and access information from any location, at any time. So a scenario beginning with a quality assurance (QA) review during construction, followed by periodic turbine checkups, and then an EOW inspection would provide a detailed record for ongoing O&M programs. “I think the industry is at a real tipping point right now in terms of beginning to understand the value of ongoing maintenance to minimize downtime and extend a turbine’s service life,” he says. “Smart owners and operators are seeing the value of strategic planning that begins from construction of the project.”
Rev1 Renewables is thinking strategically as well, planting seeds today for expected growth in the coming years. One example is its relationship with Mokpo National University in South Korea, which has been mandated by the country’s government to provide education services for its nascent offshore wind industry. Known as the Rev1 Academy, the program involves training second and third-year engineering students to become offshore wind technicians, bolstering renewable energy in a country that currently imports approximately 75 percent of its energy needs. “Hyundai, Samsung, and Doosan are all building MW-class turbines, and we are beginning to see them here in the United States, so we know that they are very serious players in this industry,” Brown says. “And creating this curriculum will also lay the groundwork for our future support activities once offshore development gains traction throughout North America.”
The company is involved in a number of collaborations, in fact. One involves the Schaeffler Group, which produces bearings for the wind industry and also gives Rev1 access to a full range of condition monitoring and maintenance products. Its partnership with Tech Safety Lines (TSL) provides fall protection, competent climber, and self-rescue training to all Rev1 technicians, and its relationship with Natural Power allows it to offer its customers remote monitoring services through its international wind project control room. Rev1’s newest partner is Gearbox Express, which remanufactures gearboxes using OEM parts and specifications. These types of relationships are seen as a way to leverage partner expertise and add value to Rev1 Renewables’ service portfolio.
With the ultimate goal of providing the full scope of O&M services, Rev1 Renewables is taking a stepwise approach to its growth, tailoring years of experience in all sectors of power generation to fit the specific needs of the wind industry. It is also expanding its physical footprint, adding staff in Southern California and Illinois to its existing locations in Arizona, Florida, Vermont, and Texas. “We think that wind farm owners and operators are growing more aware of the benefits of developing a long-term relationship with their O&M service providers,” Brown says, “because the earlier in the process we get involved, the more data we will be able to gather along the way to keep turbines spinning long after their OEM warranty has expired.”
To learn more:
Call (866) 738-1669 or go online to www.rev1renewables.com.