Summit recognizes role for wind-farm operations to support a greening grid

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


Untapped opportunities for Canada’s expanding wind-energy industry to enhance grid reliability and add value for consumers in the shift to a low-carbon future were in the spotlight as more than 230 wind-energy professionals attended the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s (CanWEA) fourth annual and largest-ever Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Summit in January.

The summit brought owners, operators, manufacturers, and service providers together to discuss operations issues in the world’s ninth largest wind-energy fleet, and explore innovative tools and techniques to increase efficiencies, drive down costs, and unlock the technical potential of modern wind power facilities.

With wind-farm operators and turbine technicians active at 295 wind farms across Canada, workforce development and a range of health and safety best practices in areas such as electrical safety, fall arrest equipment, up-tower rescues, confined spaces, and ergonomics were on the summit agenda. Data-driven maintenance strategies, emerging technologies, and service offerings, icing challenges, and repowering opportunities were also key topics discussed by the summit’s line up of expert speakers from across North America.


A highlight of the event was the presentation of two new CanWEA awards, recognizing excellence in health and safety and innovative approaches to O&M. Cartier Énergie Éolienne took home the inaugural Health and Safety Excellence Award, while LiftWerx won CanWEA’s first O&M Outstanding Achievement Award.

This year’s summit also featured an expanded exhibition showcasing leading companies in Canada’s growing wind energy O&M market.

“Electricity markets across Canada are evolving as they adapt to rapid technology change and the increasing emphasis on clean growth, and wind-farm operations need to evolve as well,” said Phil McKay, CanWEA’s operations and maintenance program director. “The discussion at CanWEA’s O&M Summit made it clear that new challenges and opportunities are presenting themselves and our rapidly maturing industry is taking steps to meet them head on. We can contribute to the services grid operators require, in addition to the low-cost, emissions-free energy consumers want.”

“Wind energy has been the leading source of new electricity generation in Canada for more than a decade, and today wind energy is the lowest-cost source of non-emitting generation available in Canada,” said Robert Hornung, CanWEA president. “As a mainstream player in the power sector, our industry is committed to setting a strong example for effective, efficient and safe operations. CanWEA’s 2018 O&M Summit gave operators, manufacturers, and service providers a chance to work collaboratively to meet that goal, by sharing information and expertise, developing solutions to current challenges, and looking ahead to the needs of the electricity grid of the future.”

Source: Canadian Wind Energy Association

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