Wind Farm Maintenance Overview

As the wind farm industry grows and matures, the need for maintenance and experienced technicians rises as well. Wind farms can vary in size, but many have hundreds of wind turbines and cover areas of hundreds of square miles per farm, often with the land in between turbines being utilized for agricultural purposes. Wind farms are often located in more open, remote areas that can be difficult to reach at a moment’s notice. Because of this, regular, planned wind farm maintenance is essential for improving the functioning and efficiency of wind turbines. Each year, wind farm owners want to be more productive and cost-effective than they were previously.

MORE: Wind Farm Interactive Map from OpenEI.org

To meet these goals, owners must find a company to work with them that is reliable, professional and experienced in wind turbine repair and maintenance. This team must be able to access your site quickly, be familiar with all makes and models on your wind farm, and be prepared to make smart decisions while hundreds of feet in the air. A new wind turbine typically is given a year or two of warrantee coverage by the manufacturer to assist with maintenance and unexpected repairs.

Condition monitoring is becoming a regularly utilized service for wind farm maintenance, especially on larger wind plants. This method involves installing sensors throughout the wind turbine machines to keep watch for irregularities and track conditions in individual turbines and their components. Some of the key issues that these sophisticated monitoring systems track are fluid contamination, which may indicate corrosion, and irregular vibration, which could mean that the alignment is off, or another problem exists within the turbine. Condition monitoring helps wind farm owners and operators see minor issues before they became major headaches and cause machine downtime and loss of revenue.

With a wealth of data, however, comes the need to properly disseminate it. Like many things, it’s useless unless you know how to use it. If the wind power plant doesn’t have a technician on staff to track and examine the data, the owner may want to consider partnering with an external team of technicians to manage condition monitoring and recommending preventative maintenance for ensuring safety, productivity and efficiency for the wind power plant. This same technology has been implemented by the more established energy industries, such as gas and oil, coal, and nuclear, for quite some time, but is steadily expanding to wind energy. Many problems can even be solved by troubleshooting and resetting controls remotely, saving wind farm owners and operators time and headaches scheduling in-person repairs.

Regarding the above YouTube video: This video is a few years old but it talks about the recent job growth in this industry. Click the “play” button and share any related videos you think pertain to this topic in the comment section!

The wind farm maintenance industry is also promising a wealth of jobs for certified technicians and expanding programs for education and training. The skills required of technicians will also expand in scope as wind energy becomes more prominent and new wind turbine technologies are created. More knowledgeable and skilled technicians will increase the offerings available for better maintenance and repairs of wind turbine machines, and will hopefully contribute to the growth and success of the wind power industry.

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