Category Archives: Maintenance

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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What You Need to Know About Wind Turbine Maintenance

For wind farm owners, wind turbine maintenance is a major, unavoidable aspect of ensuring safety and efficiency when harnessing wind power. Proper maintenance helps to prevent unexpected breakdowns and accidents that could cause lengthy downtime.

One major aspect of maintenance includes performing end-of-warranty inspections. These are helpful and necessary for recognizing signs of distress on the turbine, such as premature wear or cracks that need to be repaired before the damage is done. Technicians will also examine wind turbines for balance and alignment issues, gears and gearbox problems and adequate lubrication. Wind turbine maintenance is important, especially when working with remote wind farms that are difficult to get to quickly in a time of emergency.

Planned maintenance helps to prevent minor issues from becoming large problems that cause downtime and lost revenue. Wind turbines are valuable pieces of machinery and regular lubrication is essential to keep these machines and all of their moving parts working well. Proper lubrication of the gearbox can even prolong the lifespan of the wind turbine, especially when it’s in an area of severe weather that may otherwise corrode and damage the mechanisms. Using good quality oil is important, too, to reduce the number of oil and filter changes the machine will need throughout its lifetime of use. The generator and blades will require adequate lubrication to run smoothly, as well. The entire system, including the wiring, coolant systems, seals, brake pads, bearings, blades, tower and electrical connections should all be inspected at least once a year.

>>>Fact Break – See Below<<<

wind energy facts

Proper alignment is an important part of wind turbine maintenance (MD&A’s Topless Alignment service is among the most reputable in the industry). Shaft alignment is critical for several reasons. Because wind turbines are located several hundred feet in the air, they must be prepared to withstand severe weather from a tall height. Proper, stable alignment is also necessary because of the high speeds required by the generator to convert wind power into energy. Good alignment prevents unwanted radial and axial forces from exerting force upon the machine’s bearings and gears, causing damage or wasting energy.

Preventative maintenance is the first line of defense from mechanical failure and loss of revenue for wind farm owners and operators. It’s similar to caring for your personal vehicle. Sure, your car may seem to be running just fine. It’s getting you from point A to point B, doing its job, but you can’t be sure what’s going on beneath the hood, or in the undercarriage. Likewise, your wind turbines may seem to be running as well as they normally do, but if you fail to schedule regular oil and filter changes, or have technicians examine them for wear and tear or loose bolts, you could be in for a rude awakening.

While there is planned maintenance, there is also unplanned wind turbine maintenance, too. This is where expertise and efficiency come in particularly handy from your technicians. If something goes awry, such as a loose bearing coming off, or an issue in the gearbox, you need a team of fast-acting experts to assess the situation and solve the problem quickly and safely.