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page 16 June 2018

The technical resource for wind profitability

Windpower, conservationists making wind farms safer for

WILDLIFE Working toward zero workplace injuries

ne sio Te n d in W s New

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Photo ©

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Fall arrest and work positioning harness for wind turbine technicians The VOLT WIND LT harness’ EASYFIT design makes it easy to put on, and its wide, semi-rigid waistbelt ensures comfort throughout the work day. It features wear protectors on the waistbelt and below the dorsal point to limit wear when moving inside the wind turbine tower. ANSI 359.11

6/20/18 9:18 AM



page 16 June 2018

The technical resource for wind profitability

Windpower, conservationists making wind farms safer for

WILDLIFE Working toward zero workplace injuries

ne sio Te n d in W s New

WPE JUNE 2018_Cover_Vs3.indd 2

6/19/18 12:52 PM




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6/19/18 11:18 AM


Editorial Director | Windpower Engineering & Development |

What bugs me about conferences and other wind-industry annoyances


s I approach my ninth year reporting on the wind industry, it becomes necessary to point out several things that bug me. Most of these observations are in the friendly spirit of self-improvement and they pertain as much to the industry as to things that surround it. Let’s begin with wind-industry events.

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• An enormous amount of effort goes into organizing events, such as the recent AWEA Windpower 2018 conference, and into lining up speakers and inviting attendees. Of course, the presentations range from dull to eye-opening. But the problem is that many of the best are never captured. A good idea in a presentation that never got to print might have saved a company or two from financial ruin. The presentations are heard by a few eager ears and then…vanish. At Windpower Engineering & Development, we have found it easy to turn the best of them into feature stories and columns where they will remain online for many years. • A frequent comment is that Europe’s offshore wind industry is 20 years ahead of that in the U.S. That is comparing apples to oranges. Offshore wind farms are outrageously expensive to build and maintain. Per megawatt, they easily cost twice that and more of those onshore. Those costs will find their way to ratepayers. Europe is running out of usable land so building offshore there makes sense. To make their matters worse, the anti-atomic crowd is forcing a shutdown of the European nuclear industry well before its time. This punishes European citizens with excessive power rates, often $0.50/kWh and more on peak versus about $0.14/kWh (generation and transmission) around-the-clock in the U.S. (except in California). Those high costs punish people who struggle to pay their bills. In the UK, power costs are so high they are called the second rent. How is it progressive to promote such high utility costs? We should be happy to just learn from their mistakes. To Europe’s credit, it’s willing to share.

• It annoys me to see useless comments in articles such as, “The turbine stands 12 stories tall and makes enough power for 50,000 homes.” Neither the height nor the power description mean much. Such comments usually come from nontechnical people trying to make sense of a technical topic. They are forgiven. Report, instead, the hub height, rotor diameter, and power rating. And drop the inflated house counts altogether. Such figures are based on a wind facility working at full capacity, a rare event. Also, the power-use-per-home is too low. For example, a recent 9.5-MW turbine was said to provide power for 8,000 homes, or 1,187 Watts-per-home. That is not enough to power a Vitamix. The nameplate on our reads: 120V, 11.5 Amps, or 1,380 Watts. • Another exasperating tendency is the lack of respect for tax-payer dollars. This should annoy us all. Solyndra is the prime example, although waste is still rampant in most government budgets. Recall that around 2011, Solyndra had received about $500 million from the DOE by the time it declared itself bankrupt. Was anyone from the Federal government fired for making that lousy funding decision? Was the check immediately canceled? It was breathtaking to read several solar-power advocates defending the subsidy. “So what?” went one inane response. “Companies go bankrupt all the time.” A few more recent examples of waste are here: The wasting of half a billion tax-payer dollars should be grounds for dismissal. It is near traitorous to give shortsighted wind industry critics more ammunition for attacks. The loudest voices in defense of fiscal responsibility should have come from the renewable-energy industry, which was mostly silent. On a personal note, I will be retiring with this issue and wish all of you faithful readers good fortune and high health. Keep up the good fight, too, for more home-grown wind generated power. The best of luck to all of you because you and this great country are well worth the labor. W



6/19/18 11:25 AM


DAVID CLARK, President of CMS Wind, has been involved in gigawatts of end-of-warranty inspections. He also has experience monitoring and analyzing wind turbines ranging from 100 kW up to megawatt classes from several manufacturers on towers installed globally. Clark has also authored AWEA’s best practices for blade condition monitoring, contributing to several industry reports, and was involved with the EPRI report on wind-turbine condition monitoring in 2005. He has also authored many articles on condition monitoring for this magazine. Since 1999, he has presented several times for AWEA, the National Renewable Energy Labs (NREL), and several domestic wind O&M conferences. Reach him at JEFF ELLIOTT is a Torrance, California-based technical writer. He has researched and written about industrial technologies and issues for the past 20 years. KARL OVE INGEBRIGTSEN is the Director of Lloyd’s Register’s Low Carbon Power Generation business. He graduated from the Technical College in Narvik, Norway as a mechanical engineer in 1982, and began his career at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment with a focus on explosion and risk assessments. In 1991, he was recruited by Scandpower, an energy consultancy based in Norway that serves the global sector. In 2013, Scandpower was acquired by Lloyd’s Register and Ingebrigtsen led the Energy Consulting business. Since then, he’s held senior positions at Lloyd’s Register, with expertise across the energy and transportation sectors. Ingebrigtsen currently leads the Low Carbon Power business, with responsibility for Renewables, Nuclear, and Power Engineering services across the Lloyd’s Register Group.

PAIGE JOHNSON is the Outreach and Engagement Manager for the American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI). Paige joined AWWI in 2017 after completing an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation, and Management at the University of Oxford. She also holds a BA from Occidental College and an MS in Science Communication from Drexel University. She has previously worked in science writing and communication, project coordination, and environmental research at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, the California Institute of Technology, and Natural Resources Defense Council. AWWI facilitates timely and responsible development of wind energy while protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat. URIEL OKO works for Recycle Management, Inc. dba Corrosion Services. He received his Ph.D. in metallurgical engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Mo. He specializes in issues related to corrosion and cathodic protection and is a NACE-certified senior corrosion technologist. He is also a professional engineer and registered in several states. Reach him at: EOGHAN QUINN is a renewable energy sector specialist. He has over 10 years’ experience as a technology and business leader with a wide skillset covering renewables and engineering. Eoghan was previously responsible for WorleyParsons’ Western Australia New Energy business line, working strategically with multinational clients on their energy transition. As Global Wind Lead, Eoghan now heads the global offshore wind initiative for WorleyParsons Group.






RYAN BLITSTEIN is Vice President of Renewable Energy at Uptake, a leading industrial artificial intelligence and machine learning company. Blitstein leads the company’s work with the wind industry. Previously, he founded and led CHANGE Illinois, and was a reporter for The New York Times, Fast Company, and BusinessWeek.





Contributors 6-18_ Vs3.indd 2

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6/20/18 7:54 AM



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Staff page_WIND_6-18_Vs1.indd 3



6/19/18 11:40 AM

JUNE 2018 • vol 10 no 3


D E PA R T M E N T S 01

Editorial: What bugs me about trade shows, and more


Windwatch: Wind-component transportation

29 Condition monitoring: Your turbine talks through vibration trends. Are you listening?

moves forward, Take blades off for quicker repairs, Better simulations show wakes and effects, Three reasons to attend the Global Wind Summit, and Wind work around North America

32 Software: Optimizing the whole wind farm may be


Projects: A quiet way to construct offshore foundations

38 Corrosion: Think cathodic protection for land based,


Reliability: Wind a low cost producer now. AI to make it more so

40 Turbine of the Month: The Lagerwey L136, 4.5 MW


Bolting: Is that bolt tight to the right...load? Ultrasonic sensor tells

59 Equipment World: Anti-vibration gloves, Flexible


Materials: How coatings can extend the life of windturbine components

the better way to repower, and more

34 Offshore: What’s new in offshore wind wind-turbine foundations

grip connector, Electric chain hoist, Lightning strike surge suppressor, and others

64 Downwind: Dreaming of a 50-MW turbine


42 Driving toward zero workplace injuries


Industry and conservation organizations are helping this guy catch more mice.

Wind technicians face hazards every time they climb atop a wind turbine. Techs must contend with heights, high voltage, overhead and rotating equipment, and exposure to unforgiving weather. Such challenges may be unpreventable, but digitalization (think IoT-connected software and virtual reality) is changing how often techs must climb uptower and how they train to do so. The result: a safer industry.

Science and collaboration make wind power safer for wildlife

New technology and collaboration between industry and environmental groups can protect wildlife around wind farms all the while growing the industry.

54 What’s new in offshore wind

The U.S. offshore wind industry has certainly taken its time forming. While slow and steady often wins the race, in this case it is less about winning and more about wisdom.



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Water (ppm)

6/19/18 11:16 AM



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JUNE 2018

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TRUCKERS CHALLENGED WITH LARGER TURBINES & RESTRICTIVE STATE REGS THE NUMBER OF WIND TURBINES TRAVELING America’s roads over the next two to three years will present one of the biggest challenges to transportation and logistics companies operating in the wind-energy market. So says Jim Orr, cofounder and president of Transportation Partners & Logistics (TP&L), a Casper, Wyoming-based transportation and logistics company and owner-operator of seven wind power-component distribution centers throughout the Midwest. “The biggest impact to logistics, moving forward, is going to be the amount of wind turbines over the next two to three years moving throughout the U.S.,” Orr said. “The number of turbines traveling throughout the country will go up 40 to 50% from what they have been over last two or three years. How busy the wind industry is going to be over these years will have a huge impact on carriers.”

Article contributed by Amy Stankiewicz

A Global Specialized Services truck hauls a wind-turbine blade. GSS is owned by TP&L and has overseen more than 10,000 loads in the past year.

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6/20/18 7:57 AM


BLADEMATE FLIP EXTENSION HELPS HAUL LONGER BLADES XL Specialized Trailers has designed a new device for hauling longer windturbine blades: its patent-pending BladeMate Flip Extension. The Extension provides significant cost savings to haulers over purchasing a new trailer. “As turbines are built taller and the blades made longer, transporting them becomes even a greater challenge,” said Rodney Crim, vice president of sales at XL. “While there are many blade-hauling trailers on the road today, few can accommodate the new, longer blades.” XL’s 27-foot-long Flip Extension can be added to the rear of XL’s BladeMate trailer, or any blade-hauling trailer. The final trailer length depends onto what model the flip extension is paired. For example, with the addition of the extension, XL’s BladeMate reaches to a length of 211 ft. Before returning with the empty trailer, a driver can flip the Extension up, retract the trailer, and pull a 53-foot-long trailer for the return trip with reduced permit costs. “This solution will be beneficial to our customers because they will not need to buy an entirely new trailer to accommodate the load,” added Crim.

The size of turbine components is also impacting the transportation industry, Orr said. “Blades are getting larger -- what used to be very long, 57 m, is now being overshadowed by 67-m blades, which The biggest impact to logistics, moving we will be receiving in the fourth quarter forward, is going to be the amount of this year in North Dakota and Garden of wind turbines over the next two to City (Kansas),” he three years moving throughout the U.S. said. “I know that there are even longer blades on the horizon going into 2019.” Blade size matters in part because of states’ differing permitting rules, Orr said. Some states will only permit a certain amount of blade overhang on a trailer, while others may permit more. 8


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State-by-state regulatory issues continue to remain a challenge, he said, but they may be getting better. “The SCRA (Specialized Carriers and Riggers Association) is working with both states and AWEA to get unification between states. It becomes a problem, for example, when you’re transporting from Kansas to California on one type of equipment and you need to transfer loads before entering California due to that state’s specific trailer requirements.” Trailer manufacturers are taking notice of the increasing size of turbine blades and other components too, Orr said. “A few trailers being designed are longer with rear-split extensions to minimize rear overhang,” he added. “So trailer manufacturers are adjusting to the longer blades, but it’s hard for a carrier like us to purchase such equipment without knowing what the utilization rate will be. “We have been investing in larger equipment on the transport side,” Orr explained. “But we’re also making large investments on the crane side because turbines are also getting heavier. We’ve upgraded cranes to scale to developers’ needs at our facilities.” Orr said TP&L has also invested in off-road, platform-style trailers to handle turbine components upon entry into the wind farms and get them to pad sites. “We’re building up capacity in this area to help developers get these components to their locations,” he said. TP&L’s wind-power transportation work accounts for 90% of its business, Orr said. With recent expansion in Garden City, Kansas, the company now has a total of seven wind-component distribution centers throughout the Midwest. Other company locations are in Colorado, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming. The Garden City distribution center covers more than 630 acres. “The advantage of having multiple locations throughout the U.S. is that wind-component vendors can transport components by rail into our locations and shorten the last-mile haul,” Orr said. “For example, if there’s a transport going from North Dakota into Texas, components can be railed as far as Garden City, and that alleviates some of the capacity issues with carriers.” W

JUNE 2018

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UT Dallas flow models could boost wind farm outputs 6% and more A TEAM OF RESEARCHERS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT DALLAS (UT Dallas) say they have developed a new way to extract more power from the wind. The approach has the potential to significantly increase wind-power generation with a consequent increase in revenue. Numerical simulations performed at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) indicate potential increases of up to 6 to 7%. According to the researchers, the new method has the potential to generate $600 million in added wind power nationwide from existing wind facilities. A common way to model turbulence in fluids is through largeeddy simulations. Several years ago, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Stefano Leonardi and his research team at the University created models that can combine physical behavior across a wide range of length scales — from 100-m diameter rotors to centimeters-thick blade tips — and accurately predict wind power production using supercomputers. “We developed a code to mimic wind turbines, taking into account the interference between the wake of the tower and the nacelle with the wake of the turbine rotor,” explains Leonardi who was also lead author on a paper describing the work. In addition to length scales, modeling the variability of wind for a given region at a specific time is another challenge. To address this, the team added the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF) to their code, a leading weather prediction model developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “We can get a wind field from the North American Mesoscale Model on a coarse grid, use it as an input for five nested domains with progressively higher resolution (more detail) and reproduce with high fidelity the power generation of a real wind farm,” said Leonardi. WINDPOWER ENGINEERING & DEVELOPMENT 

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The turbine model shows how turbulence from the tower affects the wake downstream.


6/20/18 8:26 AM


The growing power of computers lets Leonardi and his team accurately model the wind field on a wind farm and the power production of every single turbine. Testing the model results against data from a wind farm in North Texas, they saw a 90% agreement between their predictions and the turbine’s efficiency. The problem with wind is that it does not flow smoothly in one direction. It contains turbulence and wakes which are magnified when turbines are grouped together as they are on a wind farm. Wake interactions lead to losses of up to 20% of annual production,

The top view of a turbine and its wake show how it changes with rotor speed. Slowest rotation is at top and highest at the bottom.



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according to the DOE. Understanding how turbulence impacts energy generation is important to adjust the behavior of the turbines in real-time to generate a maximum of power. Using their modeling capabilities, the researchers tested control algorithms used to manage the operation of dynamic systems at wind farms. One algorithm called extremum seeking control, has been a model-free way of getting the best performance out of dynamic systems with only limited knowledge of the system. “Many thought it would not be possible to use this approach because of turbulence and the fact that it provides a situation in which turbines are changing all the time,” Leonardi said. “But we did a huge number of simulations to find a way to filter turbulence out of the control scheme. This was the major innovation.” The extremum-seekingcontrol algorithm increases and then reduces the rotational speed of a spinning turbine rotor while measuring the power output, and calculating a gradient. This repeats until the controller finds an optimal operating speed. “The important thing is that the control algorithm does not rely on a physics-based model,” Leonardi said. “There are many uncertainties in a real wind farm, so you cannot model everything. The extremum seeking control can find an optimum even when there is erosion or icing on the blades. It’s works despite uncertainties in the system.” To test their new approach, the team ran virtual wind experiments using supercomputers at the TACC, including Stampede2 and Lonestar – two of the most powerful in the world. “Enormous benefits come from using high-performance computing to create a virtual platform for doing analyses of proposed solutions for wind energy,” said Mario Rotea, professor of mechanical engineering at UT Dallas, and site director of the National Science Foundation-

supported Wind-Energy Science, Technology and Research (WindSTAR) Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC). “The more we can do with computers, the less we have to do with testing, which is a big part of the costs. This benefits the nation by lowering the cost of energy.” While the application of extremum-seeking control to wind farms is yet to be field tested, the UT Dallas team already applied the method to a single turbine at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). “The NREL test gave us experimental data supporting the value of extremum seeking control for wind-power maximization,” said Rotea. “The experimental results show that extremum seeking control increases the power capture by 8 to 12% relative to a baseline controller.” Given the encouraging experimental and computational results, the UT Dallas team is planning an experimental campaign involving a cluster of turbines in a wind farm. The development of the fluid-dynamics model for wind turbines was part of an international collaboration between four U.S. institutions (Johns Hopkins University, UT Dallas, Texas Tech and Smith College) and three European institutions (Technical University of Denmark, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) funded by the National Science Foundation. W

Looking inside the tip swirls show volumes on non-turbulent air. The gray surfaces are areas of different pressures.

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6/20/18 8:27 AM

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Ground habitat for blade work lets repairs progress despite bad weather FOR A FASTER TURNAROUND ON BLADE REPAIR one company suggests bringing them down to the ground and putting them in the company’s enclosure or habitat under controlled environmental conditions. The method eliminates the stand-by periods that often accompany bad weather and up-tower repairs. “Three blades on one turbine can be refurbished and returned to service on the turbine in 48 hours,” says Daniel Boon, General Manager of GEV Wind Power and a former wind technician. Boon points out several advantages of working on the ground versus up-tower: Two teams of two technicians working around the clock in 12-hour shifts do the work of composite structural repairs, reshaping the leading edge and applying protection to it. In the habitat, temperatures can be maintained above the lowest needed for two-part materials. “Plus, those working on the ground need not have the rope-access training, so their hourly charge is lower. Weather is less of an influence, so the seasonal repair window is wider than with other repair methods. And working on the ground lets a tech focus more easily on the job and less on safety issues,” he adds.

A comparison of methods, April 22 to May 6

In the habitat

Rope access

Working hours 255


Stand-by hours 9


The company designed and built the patented Ventura habitat, an inflatable enclosure for blade repairs by technicians using blade-climbing platforms. Boon’s team realized that while the suspended habitat worked well, it worked just as well on the ground. The platform version is still available, and a truckmounted platform version is currently in design. 12


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Weather is less of an influence, so the seasonal repair window is wider than with other repair methods. And working on the ground lets a tech focus more easily on the job and less on safety issues.

LEFT: Inside the habitat, technicians can work without regard to wind or weather. This habitat is uptower.

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It takes about 30 minutes to erect a habitat around a blade on the ground.

The biggest issue with blade repair is wind. “Bringing the blades down eliminates the issue. With a special cradle, it only takes about an hour to get the blades to the ground, and another 30 minutes to erect the habitat over the blade,” says Boon. In late April and early May of this year, Boon was able to compare groundbased with one rope access repair. Results are in the table. Boon acknowledges that initial cost is higher for the crane, but it comes back from not paying for standby work. More importantly, the turbine gets back to work after only two days, whereas in uptower work, a five-day job can stretch to as much as 15 days if the weather does not cooperate. A few repairs have had 20+ standby days because of weather. During that period, the turbine is out of commission and wind techs are paid to do

GEV still maintains the Ventura Habitat for blade work around a platform.

nothing. He suggests owners think about the saving on the standby time. In the U.S., lightning strikes cause a lot of blade damage. Some the damage is so bad that the turbines are turned off. “Downtime is getting so expensive that when a turbine is shut down for too long, a few owners would consider recycling the damaged yet repairable blades and procure new ones,” adds Boon. W



6/20/18 7:58 AM


Forget PPAs — do-it-yourself wind farms are the new corporate trend WITH THE PHASE-OUT of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) approaching, trends in the North American wind market are taking an interesting turn. This includes some regulated utilities – many of which are major European players looking to enter the U.S. market – building and owning their own wind farms rather than signing power-purchase agreements (PPAs). This is according to the inaugural North American Power List, the latest — and first U.S.-focused — report published by A Word About Wind and supported by project developer Lincoln Clean Energy. The report ranks the major influencers in the U.S. wind-energy sector and offers in-depth interviews with leading investors, utilities, and developers in the space. The fact that 55 of the top 100 most influential players in the North American wind industry area working for either utilities or developers reflects a shifting dynamic in which these groups are gaining increased traction in the U.S. market, the report states. And with the abolition of the Clean Power Plan, new import tariffs on steel and aluminum, and the impending 2020 phase-out of the PTC, the market is working toward selfsufficiency. To drive down costs, involved parties — from utilities to corporations — are seeking to ‘cut out the middle man.’ One such example is the German energy company Innogy that bought EverPower’s 2-GW onshore wind-development pipeline in late 2017. Other utilities and large institutions are also looking to grow their own development platforms, which is reflected in an increase in consolidation agreements, such as Engie’s purchase of Infinity Renewables in February of this year. Meanwhile, corporate institutions have begun to sign PPAs directly with wind-farm owners rather than going through a third-party intermediary, an additional indicator of the market focus on cost-cutting, the report states. Given the current regulatory environment, A Word About Wind predicts that the prevalence of utilities and developers in the market — and the emphasis on ‘do-it-yourself’ wind energy — is only set to increase. “While well-established in some areas, the U.S. wind industry is going through a significant period of change, particularly with developments such as the introduction of offshore wind,” said Richard Heap, editor, A Word About Wind. “Coping with this, in an uncertain regulatory environment, requires the ability to negotiate projects within tight margins — for which reason we’re 14


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The North American Power List is the latest – and first U.S.focused – report published by industry intelligence service A Word About Wind and supported by Lincoln Clean Energy. The report features Ray Wood from Bank of America Merrill Lynch on its cover.

seeing a lot of companies seeking to cut any ‘unnecessary’ costs, and become more self-sufficient. This trend is likely to continue as we approach 2020 and life after the PTC.” The report features Ray Wood from Bank of America Merrill Lynch on its cover. Wood is another major player who highlights the prevalence of corporate consolidation in the market, citing the ability to “draw up good risk-adjusted returns and deal with the capital-intensive nature of development” as a key driver of recent developer buy-outs, the report states. Wood’s market perspectives are accompanied in the report by additional interviews with sector experts. Greengate’s Dan Balaban discusses Canada’s green hotspot, Alberta, while Beth Waters from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group explores tax changes and new energy buyers. Declan Flanagan from Lincoln Clean Energy talks about the trend toward developer buyouts among institutional investors and utilities, while Enel’s Rafael Gonzalez offers his thoughts on securing corporate deals, expansion plans, and key trends in O&M. W For more information and to obtain a copy of the North American Power List, visit

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Pick a geographic area of interest and zoom in. Then, with fields to the left, select a period for the wind speed anomalies.

Climate reference tool helps understand production variations from predicted to actual WHEN SITING A WIND FARM, it is imperative to first understand how wind resources are distributed across a potential project location. This is done in several ways. The conventional methods assemble a met mast on the property and check with local weather stations. Or more recently, a remotesensing device is used such as an ultrasonic wind profiler. The met mast is pretty much stationary, but the ultrasonic wind profiler is easily moved around the property to sample the wind in a range of locations. After a project is built and operational, wind-farm operators must continue to track the wind to optimize and account for their assets. For example, operators may need to explain to owners or stakeholders why a wind farm generated more or sold JUNE 2018

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less energy than expected — that is, the variation from predicted to actual — and particularly if the wind farm underperforms. If the equipment is relatively new and running well, a reason for the variation could be different weather patterns for that year. A quick and simple way to check weather conditions is through a new Climate Reference Tool from Vaisala, a global provider of environmental and industrial measurement. The Reference Tool is free to use and provides instant access to wind-speed anomalies for any month, quarter, or year. Users can select a time period within the last 35 years and learn if wind speeds were lower or higher than the 35-year average. To create a free account, go to W



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About 35,000 industry visitors from around the world are expected to attend the Global Wind Summit. The exhibiting companies hail from about 40 different countries, with 22 nations represented by regional and national pavilions. New countries attending this year’s event include South Africa, Iceland, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Three reasons to attend the Global Wind Summit in Hamburg this September 16


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WITH THE PRODUCTION TAX CREDITS WINDING DOWN and the offshore wind industry ramping up in the United States, it is an ideal time to take note of how other countries are faring with their wind efforts and learn from the examples of others. Consider Germany, France, Belgium, Croatia, Ireland, and the UK. All have experienced a record year for wind installations in 2017. The EU alone added 12,484 MW onshore and 3,154 MW offshore of installed wind capacity. The European wind industry also has a 40% share of all the wind turbines sold globally, and exports about €8 billion in technology and services every year. While the U.S. is making strides (wind is expected to overtake hydropower as the leading source of renewable power in the country next year), it still has much to learn, particularly in the offshore sector. One place to gain the insight of global wind industry leaders is at the Global Wind Summit, currently the world’s largest onshore and offshore wind event. This year’s event runs September 25 to 28,

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and combines WindEnergy Hamburg’s annual expo with the global conference of WindEurope. The goal is to provide industry experts and advocates with a comprehensive conference and exhibition that highlights the full wind value chain. Attendees can expect industry representatives from about 40 countries who will present product and service innovations for wind, and discuss current industry trends and challenges. “For both onshore and offshore wind, the Global Wind Summit in Hamburg is the place to learn about key policy and market developments, best practice from around the world, and to have a look at the latest technologies and how they are being deployed,” said Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of the Global Wind Energy Council, at an advanced press conference for the show held in Hamburg in early June. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) recognizes the event’s value and will lead WindEnergy Hamburg’s USA Pavilion. “American wind power has world-class resource potential, a robust supply chain, and a bright future that we’re excited to showcase at the WindEnergy Hamburg’s USA Pavilion,” said Brent Nussbaum, AWEA’s Vice President, Member Relations in a recent press statement. Here are three reasons you should attend the show. 1. Solidifying connections — onshore & offshore The event organizers expect the Global Wind Summit and WindEnergy Hamburg to provide an excellent opportunity for developers and operators to connect with OEMs and O&M experts. In fact, many key manufacturers, such as Vestas, Siemens Gamesa, Nordex Acciona, and GE Renewable Energy — which combined provided 99% of all new onshore wind turbines in the U.S. last year — will exhibit at the show. “Land-based wind power is a competitive and mainstream energy source, supplying over 6% of U.S. electricity last year and supporting over 100,000 U.S. workers across all 50 states,” said Nussbaum. “Looking ahead, offshore JUNE 2018

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wind is poised to take off, expanding the opportunity for workers and supply chain businesses to manufacture, deploy, and operate these projects.” Siemens Gamesa and MHI Vestas currently lead the European offshore market with 7 to 8-MW+ direct-drive and 8 to 9.5-MW medium-speed geared turbines, respectively. GE supplied five, 6-MW Haliade 150-6MW direct-drive turbines for America’s first offshore wind farm, Block Island Wind. The company is now working on its 12-MW Haliade X for delivery in 2021, with a record 220-meter rotor diameter. The U.S. has some catching up to do offshore, and is working on developing a pipeline of new projects. Massachusetts and Rhode Island recently contracted for a combined 1,200 MW of offshore wind, which could become the country’s largest offshore wind farm. New Jersey has set a goal of 3,500 MW of offshore wind by 2030. Two developers, Magellan Wind and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, have joined forces to develop a portfolio of floating offshore wind projects off the California coast and potentially other areas of the country. The Global Wind Summit is one place U.S. wind developers can connect with experts before the country’s offshore wind boom truly begins.

This year, AWEA is teaming up with WindEnergy Hamburg at the Global Wind Summit to support the event’s USA Pavilion. To register for the conference, visit

GLOBAL WIND SUMMIT The Global Wind Summit will combine two events: WindEnergy Hamburg 2018 and WindEurope. More than 1,400 companies will exhibit at WindEnergy Hamburg, which will focus on three key topics: Dynamic Markets, Cost Efficiency, and Smart Energy. WindEurope Conference will host more than 50 conference sessions by 250 experts broken down into four days. • • • •

Day One: Electrification & sector-coupling Day Two: Digital wind & new technologies Day Three: The wind industry in a merchant environment Day Four: New markets, new frontiers & the long-term outlook



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2. Gaining digital insights Increased use of data and analytics in the energy sector could save power companies close to $20 billion per year, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) first report on energy and digitalization, released late last year. The IEA says that digital data and analytics can reduce power system costs in at least four ways. 1. Reducing O&M costs 2. Improving power plant and network efficiency 3. Decreasing unplanned outages and downtime 4. Extending the operational lifetime of assets Wind energy pioneer, and owner of nearly 650 patents in wind, Henrik Stiesdal, was a speaker at the advanced press conference for the Global Wind Summit. He believes digitalization could make a significant impact on O&M costs. “Typically, we plan a 25% proportion of funds for maintenance and services in the overall costs of a wind farm. However, digital solutions could give us the possibility to cut these costs by half,” he said. Others in the industry agree with Stiesdal. More than 700 industry experts from around the world recently participated in a survey for the “WindEnergy trend: index.” Two-thirds of respondents indicated that digitization is the key to optimizing onshore and offshore wind projects. “Today we have wind turbines as standalone units, but digitization may open the opportunity to build intelligent wind parks that reduce the wake effect,” added Stiesdal. To help with digital decisions and challenges, WindEurope is planning a full day of conferences at the Global Wind Summit dedicated to “Digital wind & new technologies.” Day two of the event will focus on the latest advances in big data and digital wind technologies. According to WindEurope’s organizers: “Digitalization is opening new ways to design, manufacture, operate, and maintain wind farms. From 18


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materials science applications that predict failures in wind-turbine components with unprecedented accuracy, to big data analyses that optimize energy yields, the industry is becoming ever more sophisticated, and increasingly contributing to system integration.” Digitilization is becoming an important key to a low-cost wind energy future. In addition to data ownership and sharing, the conference will focus on system integration, lifetime extension, cost reduction, and cybersecurity. 3. Learning new markets The wind industry has made great progress reducing the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). In fact, wind power is one of the most affordable options for new electricity generation in the U.S. Wind's unsubsidized costs are competitive with conventional generation in certain regions of the country, ranging from $30 to $60/MWh in 2017. This is good news for wind advocates. However, new markets are changing the playing field. A few examples: •

Record-low corporate power purchase agreements are transforming how major corporates source their energy. U.S. utility and non-utility companies signed a record 3,500 MW of long-term PPAs for wind power in the first quarter of 2018. As a result of low-cost agreements, Xcel Energy in Colorado is proposing to retire several coal plants and replace them with wind — while saving customers costs. Such changes mean new opportunities for wind developers and new ways of sourcing power for utilities and corporations.

New technologies at lower costs are forcing the industry to think outside of conventional methods of wind power. Floating offshore wind, for example, would let offshore developers build in deeper waters. Many experts believe floating technology will soon be ready for commercialization at utility-scale projects.

The recent preference for public invitations to tender for onshore and offshore wind projects represents a global paradigm shift. Wind-power costs have dropped substantially since Germany and the UK switched to auctions. While some debate the value of wind auctions, they are occurring with greater frequency. Last year, even the U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced that 122,405 acres offshore North Carolina would be offered in a commercial wind lease sale.

New markets are emerging across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. A solid pipeline of wind projects are lined up in previously quiet regions.

According to event organizers, these changes are bringing new opportunities to the wind sector, but also significant challenges because there is no longer a “one-size-fits-all model” for how industry players should operate. “Different regions and different players require different solutions. At the Global Wind Summit, conference representatives of the finance community, investors, and the broader wind supply chain will address current challenges and present new market solutions, while industry players on the expo floor will show how their technology helps address these challenges while expanding the global reach of the wind industry.” A series of “Invest in” sessions will give attendees an opportunity to learn about new markets and meet key players. There will also be sessions on development in constrained and difficult-to-access regions, lifetime extension and repowering, and new market opportunities for a maturing industry. And to top off the event, conference sessions will focus on improving the social acceptance of wind and exploring how to best maximize support for the industry and its future success. W JUNE 2018

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Wind work around North America These are busy times for North America’s clean-energy initiatives as more communities commit to renewable energy. A few include Minneapolis, which recently committed to 100% renewable energy by 2030, as well as Pennsylvania’s Kennett Township and Norman, Oklahoma. The latter two recently adopted resolutions to transition to 100% clean renewable electricity by 2035. These cities join 66 others that have committed to clean energy. More are sure to come. Here’s to other North American communities taking similar strides to commit to renewables for a better environment, brighter economy, and ongoing economic growth for the wind-energy sector.


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Researchers at UPEI’s School of Sustainable Design Engineering have been awarded funding from Mitacs to develop a detailed technical framework for PEI’s electrical system to increase renewable-energy integration and decrease reliance on fossil fuels. With $150,000 from Mitacs Accelerate and PEI Energy Corporation, Dr. Matthew Hall and Dr. Andrew Swingler will hire three graduate students and begin building a “roadmap” toward making PEI’s energy system 100% carbon-free.


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Ameren planning Missouri’s largest wind farm



Ameren Missouri has entered into an agreement to acquire a 400-MW wind farm in northeast Missouri, the largest ever in the state. The facility will be built by an affiliate of Terra-Gen in Adair and Schuyler counties. The wind farm will consist of 175 American-made wind turbines with blades that reach up to more than 450 feet above the ground. Groundbreaking is expected in the summer of 2019.


Pattern Development acquires wind & transmission line

Pattern Development acquired two assets in New Mexico from Clean Line Energy Partners — the Western Spirit Transmission Line and the Mesa Canyons wind farm. The addition of Mesa Canyons will bring Pattern Development’s wind-development footprint in the Estancia Valley of New Mexico to more than 3,000 MW. Mesa Canyons and Western Spirit are expected to begin construction next year, with a targeted in-service date of 2020.

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E.ON opens North American Renewables Operation Center

E.ON has completed its North American Renewables Operation Center in Austin, Texas, boosting the company’s ability to manage its own 3.6-GW capacity portfolio as well as an additional 2.9 GW of capacity for other owners. The center’s services include scheduling and dispatching power, remotely managing power and voltage in accordance with NERC standards, and carrying out offtake arrangements under various contracts.


Ohio’s Icebreaker offshore wind project advances

North America’s first freshwater offshore wind project took a step forward recently when the Ohio Power Siting Board re-commenced review of its application and set the schedule for a second local public hearing on July 19, 2018, in Cleveland. The first step in the Icebreaker Wind project is a planned 20.7-MW demonstration wind site, which will consist of six 3.45-MW turbines located 8 miles north of Cleveland.


New partnership dedicated to U.S. offshore wind

Bay State Wind and community leaders have reached a partnership with the Utility Workers Union of America, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union for a proposed offshore wind project 25 miles off the South Coast of Massachusetts. The new partnership includes an agreement to build a training center that will prepare workers to operate and maintain offshore wind projects.

Texas getting communitysponsored wind project

Construction on one of the largest community-sponsored wind projects in the U.S. will begin in June near Plainview, Texas. The Hale Wind Project includes four wind farms: Cotton Wind Farms, East Mound Renewable Energy, Hale Wind Farm, and Lakeview Wind Farms. Each project was launched under Tri Global’s Wind Force Plan, which gives local landowners and investors a substantial ownership in the wind-project developers leasing their land.

Researchers to map a clean-energy future for Canada’s PEI


SGRE to repower three U.S. wind farms Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) has signed agreements with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources to repower 508 MW at three wind farms in Texas. First, SGRE will repower 362 units of Vestas’ V47 wind turbines at the Indian Mesa and Woodward wind farms, increasing their power rating by up to 7.5%. The company also plans to repower 210 units of legacy Bonus turbines at the 268-MW King Mountain Wind Energy Center.



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P ROJ E CTS Karl Ove Ingebrigtsen Director of Low Carbon Power Generation L l o y d ’s R e g i s t e r

Underwater noise is a big concern when installing offshore wind farms, so Netherlands-based Fistuca has been working to reduce constructionnoise pollution with its unique BLUE Piling technology. The noise technical and engineering experts at Lloyd’s Register are supporting BLUE development by advancing the prototype to commercial reality.

A quieter way to construct offshore turbine foundations


nderwater noise is a big concern when installing offshore wind farms. For example, pile driving to secure offshore foundations transmits loud booms through the water and for many miles. The full impact of construction noise on marine life is yet unknown, but it is potentially dangerous to certain species of sea life. So what if it was possible to reduce offshore construction noise at its source? That’s exactly what engineers at Netherlandsbased Fistuca BV are doing, thanks to a new method for pile driving. To validate the new tool and take it from prototype to commercial reality, the company is enlisting the help of engineers and noise experts at technical consultancy Lloyd’s Register. Pile driving re-imagined Construction of offshore wind-turbine foundations is mostly done by pile driving, using hydraulic hammers. Typically, these hammers consist of a steel ram that weighs between 150 to 200 tons. For maximum efficiency, the ram is released full force onto a pile top to drive it down. It is a noisy process, as René Smidt Lützen, Lloyd Register’s voice on noise mitigation, explains. 20


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“The work is extremely loud and repetitive, which means big efforts must be made to reduce the underwater noise — but this isn’t cheap. Effective noise mitigation strategies and tools cost of about €40 million per wind farm,” he says. That’s according to recent data published in Germany, and works out to over $46 million. “Not surprisingly, the high costs have spiked an interest in driving down the price of noisemitigation measures when installing offshore wind farms,” adds Smidt Lützen. And this is important to ensure project affordability and compliance. To protect marine wildlife in Europe, strict rules apply to offshore construction noise. The costs of reducing pile-driving noise can represent up to 15% of installation expenses. Fistuca recognized the problem and set out to solve it. The result: BLUE Piling Technology, which aims to significantly reduce foundation installation costs for offshore wind turbines by saving on noisereduction efforts. How does it work? Unlike conventional hydraulic hammers, Fistuca’s BLUE Hammer uses the acceleration of a water column by combustion of a gas mixture to drive the pile into the ground.

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A combustion cycle pushes the water column in the air, after which it falls back on the pile, delivering a second blow. This cycle is repeated until the pile reaches its required depth.

However, according to Winkes, there is more testing to be done. “It’s a new technology in an industry that knows construction costs need to come down — yet most operators feel safer by sticking

Not surprisingly, the high costs have spiked an interest in driving down the price of noise-mitigation measures when installing offshore wind farms. “Essentially, the BLUE Hammer replaces the steel ram with a big volume of seawater. As a result, the loud ‘metalon-metal’ impact created by a hydraulic hammer is exchanged for a quieter ‘water-on-metal’ sound,” says Jasper Winkes, director of Fistuca BV. “What’s more, noise from the water impact is concentrated at lower frequencies. This is because the physics of shallow-water acoustics reduces noise propagation at these frequencies.” There are other benefits, too. “Although the new hammer delivers a large amount of energy to the pile, the process of combustion and re-bounce of the water column is relatively slow and, therefore, has a lower impact on each monopile. The gradual increase in force onto a pile head introduces far less material stress in the pile,” explains Winkes. He adds that this lower-impact way of pile driving may result in the foundation experiencing a longer lifetime. “It also opens the possibility of driving a pile with secondary steel attached to it for added stability.”

with what they already use and know well,” he says. “So we need to demonstrate that the BLUE Hammer can meet the most stringent noise-pollution regulations currently around, which are in Germany.” Another step along the validation journey included asking Lloyd’s Register’s Engineering Dynamics team to validate the noise levels. “We looked at scaled input test data and performed numerical simulations of the expected underwater noise from a prototype device during operation,” says Winkes. “According to our simulations, this has the potential to produce far less noise than typical hydraulic hammers.” Those results are yet to be demonstrated using the BLUE Hammer in a full-scale trial at sea. “But we achieved valuable data from our reduced-scale measurements,” Winkes says. “The Lloyd’s Register’s team was also able to combine the lab data with a carefully adapted vibro-acoustic model.”

Fistuca is currently planning a fullscale offshore test with the hammer and is working with a number of utilities toward full-scale deployment in the next few years. Although Europe is the company’s home base, the long-term plan is to deploy BLUE Hammer in offshore wind projects worldwide. “The underwater noise simulations provide valuable insight, which helps us provide quiet and precise pile-driving technology as we gather more offshore data,” says Winkes. “The data is also relevant to wind developers and utility companies that require a high degree of confidence in underwater noise propagation predictions. It’s a win-win.” W

Fistuca’s BLUE Hammer uses the acceleration of a water column by combustion of a gas mixture to drive a pile into the ground. The loud ‘metal-on-metal’ impact created by a conventional hydraulic hammer is replaced by a quieter ‘water-on-metal’ sound.

Testing to development Fistuca began the new pile-driving tool’s design and development process in 2011, and continued to test the prototype for the next four years. The Dutch Government and offshore technical company Huisman Equipment has since lent support for the development of a full-scale model that, when completed, will be the largest (and least noisy) hammer in the world: the BLUE 25M. JUNE 2018

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RE L I ABI L ITY Ryan Blitstein Vice President of Renewable Energy Uptake |

Wind a low-cost producer now. AI could make it dominate.

Even in today's digital age, people still matter when making business decisions. Software should be intuitive to use, work efficiently in challenging environments, and support human efforts. Here, an Uptake employee climbs atop a wind turbine to provide O&M help.


he current projection of the wind industry is an optimistic one. U.S. wind-power capacity increased from 60 gigawatts (GW) five years ago to more than 90 GW in 2017, and it is expected to top 220 GW by 2030. Last year alone, industry growth came from $11 billion in private investment. However, despite its growth, wind power is still a bit player in the highly competitive and diversified U.S. energy market. Other clean-energy sources such as solar are catching up on the price curve. To grow faster and stay competitive, the sector must continue to innovate and further decrease its levelized cost of energy, or LCOE. A promising way to accomplish this is by improving how machines and humans work together through the digital transformation of renewables. This means engineers, wind techs, and machines collaborating on wind-turbine inspections, maintenance, and troubleshooting to fully maximize wind-farm production. The World Economic Forum predicts $17.8 trillion in value will be created during the next decade from digital transformation in some of the largest industrial sectors. The power sector is expected to gain about $3.1 trillion in value. Artificial intelligence (AI) and data are the keys to this growth and development. While enormous potential exists with the application of AI, the wind industry has only experienced minor value from it to date. One reason is because wind owners and operators are typically focused only on data instead of the business value that can be derived from data. There are two recurring problems with current data-collection and analysis methods:



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• •

Companies are looking at the wrong data Companies are typically analyzing it with rudimentary methods

When applying big data to challenging problems, it is critical to first determine where the most value exists — as opposed to where the most data is available. Railroads are an example of an industry that’s maximizing the use of AI. By applying AI effectively, some railroads are capable of generating $160,000 in value per locomotive each year. With a typical Class I railroad operating more than 5,000 locomotives, the numbers quickly add up.

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Railroads are a collection of many systems — track, signals, locomotives, and cars — that all have worth. It is, therefore, important to first determine the asset that has the greatest value and then whether to optimize for reliability or productivity. For railroads, the greatest opportunity is in the locomotive and its reliability. For example, questions a dispatcher might ask include: Is the locomotive ready when there’s a shipment of goods? And if so, will it arrive at its destination without delay or breaking down? In the wind industry, this is called time-based or energy availability, and it works in much the same way as in the rail industry. An operator may ask: Is my turbine available to generate power when wind is blowing? And what’s the best way to schedule work to optimize wind-farm operations and costs? This entails an analysis of many confounding variables such as air density, grid conditions, technician availability, market prices, and others. Thanks to effective AI use, the millions of dollars saved across a fleet of locomotives is only one part of the rail industry’s success story. The main part is the people — because even in a digital, AI-driven business, data

FIVE WAYS TO MAXIMIZE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AT WIND FARMS 1. Focus on where the value is, rather than where the data is The area where you might have the most project data may not be where you can drive value in your operations. Start with where your main challenges are and work from there. 2. Ask how AI can drive smarter fleet-wide turbine decisions Software should identify individual component failures, letting wind-farm owners and operators make more informed, data-driven decisions across their wind fleet. 3. Make sure your AI system can be used across all turbines at a site Typically, installing software that only works on one brand of wind turbine will result in more complexity and higher costs. 4. Even with machine help, people still matter Even in today's digital age, wind techs are needed to make repairs. Involve them early in the process of your site’s digital transformation. 5. Digital transformation is challenging, but worth it The World Economic Forum estimates there is $3.1 trillion of value that can be unlocked in the power markets alone during the next decade.

Earlier this year, an Uptake report found that up to 12 terawatthours of energy could be produced by eliminating avoidable downtime in the current U.S. wind fleet. Digital transformation has the potential to unleash greater power production and reduced costs across the global wind fleet.

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only goes so far. Owners, operators, manufacturers, and engineers are still needed to dissect the data and make appropriate value judgments. This is why leading industrial AI companies have invested heavily in researching user experience, so they can gain insight into the most useful and effective information. Effective AI is also working in the wind industry. In fact, this lesson is why Berkshire Hathaway Energy Renewables and MidAmerican Energy Company’s wind fleet is producing more energy from the same conditions on their existing 2,400 wind turbines than previous to AI’s application. According to one company, AI software recently prevented a turbine’s main-bearing failure. A find (or “save”) like this can mean up to $250,000 to an owner, including lost project revenue from the downtime. There is little reason why the wind industry cannot produce a much greater share of U.S. energy generation. The industry has the required tools and data. Now it just needs to use them. W



6/19/18 11:58 AM

B O LT I NG Paul Dvorak Editor Windpower Engineering & Development

Is that bolt tight to the right…load? Ultrasonic sensor tells The 4.5-lb BoltScope Ultra is compact, durable, and easy to operate. An anti-glare screen allows for use in bright conditions. The device can measure loads on bolts from 1 to 999-in. long.


recently introduced handheld device has the ability to monitor and display the elongation, stress, and load on a windturbine fastener. Developer Hydratight says its BoltScope Ultra is for applications that call for accurate bolt loads, such as those in the wind, nuclear, other power-generation industries. It works like this, says Thomas Foley, a technical support specialist with parent company Actuant Corp: An operator pulls up a built-in material menu and identifies the bolt material. This pulls in values for material characteristics such as yield strength, ultrasonic stress factor, and temperature coefficient. The instrument includes a temperature probe to measure bolt temperatures. The operator places the ultrasonic transducer on one end of the fastener. Triggering the instrument applies a voltage to the transducer,



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The 0.84-lb BoltScope Pro provides a smaller version of the Ultra for operators working in difficult-to-reach locations.

which generates a longitudinal ultrasonic wave that travels the length of the fastener. The wave reflects off the other end and returns to the transducer. This captured signal process is known as “time of flight.” “Each bolt in a joint requires an initial reference-length reading, known as an L-REF. This is a base, or zero datum because the ‘timeof-flight’ differs on each fastener,” Foley says. A technician would also capture the acoustic velocity in fasteners after tightening. Foley adds that the technology is based on a well-known and reliable pulse-echo measuring technique. The difference in time-of-flight between the two measurements establishes the resultant fastener stress. That resultant stress is extrapolated to display load, elongation, and strain. Monitored data is presented on an easy-to-read color display and recorded for offline reporting and storage.

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A range of automatic settings optimizes signal detection, strength, and stability, Foley says. A simple one-key press optimizes signal stability and strength, eliminating the need for interrogation by the operator.

Each bolt in a joint requires an initial reference-length reading, known as an L-REF. This is a base, or zero datum because the ‘timeof-flight’ differs on each fastener. Using the most recent ultrasonic technology lets the BoltScope Pro and BoltScope Ultra units make it easy to measure fastener load, stress, and elongation, the company states. The display lets users quickly and accurately monitor fastener load before, during, and after tightening. The instrument allows the monitoring of fasteners throughout their life. In addition, field-captured data is easily uploaded for offline reporting, retention, and analysis. The product comes with essential accessories in a compact carrying case. “We are currently active on a wind-turbine-bolting campaign in which each joint has 128, M72 fasteners,” says Foley. W

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A closeup of the Ultra screen shows its easy-to-read feature. The fastener measured is carrying a load of 2,265 kilo-Newtons.


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From A To Z Aztec Bolting Services Answers all your technical 520 Dallas St. League City, TX 77573 needs Electronics / Torque Tools

Stahlwille Torque Tools


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M AT E R I AL S Jeff Elliott Te c h n i c a l W r i t e r Oerlikon Balzers

Wind turbines must withstand harsh conditions, with little to no downtime. To do so quality components that perform under high loads are essential.

How coatings can extend the life of wind-turbine components


he wind industry has no shortage of challenges. A big one is manufacturing reliable, cost-effective turbine components that operate with minimal maintenance or repair. But almost without exception, turbines operate under extreme conditions that put components under considerable wear. For example, turbine shaft bearings, planetary gears, and rotating shafts must operate under high loads, which includes direct metal-on-metal contact and typically with less than ideal lubrication. Components made of hardened steel or metal alloys can break down from scuffing, surface fatigue, pitting, galling, and overall wear and tear. One way to prolong component health is to choose quality maintenance products to compliment a rigorous O&M plan. Another step is to use specialized coatings and surface treatments on certain components, such as roller bearings and planetary gears. Two such treatments — physical vapor deposition (PVD) coatings and nitriding, a heat-treatment process — have been found to significantly increase the durability and lifespan of wind-turbine components.



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Smarter O&M A productive and long-lasting wind farm is a wind operator’s goal. However, over time, operators are bound to face significant O&M costs for repairs, replacements, and complete overhauls. Budgets must account for upgrades, logistics (including cranes for onsite repairs), and skilled wind techs who can perform the necessary repair tasks. “When you have to bring a crane onsite to change a turbine’s main shaft bearing, for example, it is not only the cost of the new bearing but also the total work to exchange the part. It adds up quickly,” says Dr. Florian Rovere of Oerlikon Balzers, a company that produces specialized coatings for components in North America. “Think $100,000 or $200,000 for an overhaul.” As towers are built taller and turbines larger in capacity, components must also increase in size, which adds to costs. Taller towers mean taller cranes and larger repair bills. “Sometimes suddenly or unexpectedly, a clean-energy project can become extremely costly to operate, which is why wind-farm operators look to extend the longevity of turbine components as much as possible,” adds Rovere.


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He suggests using coatings and surface treatments to significantly extend the service life of wind components. Black oxide is one example of a coating that’s used on certain components. It is produced by a chemical reaction between the iron on the surface of a ferrous metal and oxidizing salts. “After a post-treatment with oil, the surface has an improved lubricity and it protects against corrosion and galling during metal-to-metal interactions,” he says. “However, black oxide is not very durable and can be worn away quickly in repetitive, high-load applications.” Because wind turbines operate in demanding weather and environmental conditions, Rovere says it is extremely important to consider coatings that are optimized for such harsh energy environments.

Sometimes suddenly or unexpectedly, a clean-energy project can become extremely costly to operate, which is why wind-farm operators look to extend the longevity of turbine components as much as possible. “Coatings must stand up and last if they’re to be effective. For this reason, a more effective choice for the wind industry includes the application of specialized physical vapor deposition or PVD coatings and nitriding treatments that increase surface hardness and durability.” By applying coatings optimized for punishing environments, components benefit from increased surface hardness and a much lower coefficient of friction. The payoff: turbine parts are replaced

much less frequently, if at all. “The aim is to reduce maintenance and unplanned downtime while, at the same time, improve overall wind-turbine performance,” says Rovere. A closer look at PVD coatings Physical vapor deposition encompasses a wide range of vacuum deposition methods used to produce coatings. PVD provides a thin coating on components that can increase their surface hardness,

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durability, and corrosion resistance. PVD coatings can also lower a product’s friction coefficient, which makes it ideal for use on many wind-turbine parts. A coating with a low friction coefficient essentially forms a protective barrier between metal-on-metal contacts, which reduces fretting corrosion and pitting. In turn, this minimizes potential structural damages, such as white-etch cracking on bearings and fatigue failure. This means components are more reliable and less likely to fail, so maintenance and downtime are diminished. “A specialized PVD coating that is particularly effective is BALINIT C, which can be applied in thicknesses of 0.5 to 4 micrometers on roller bearings and gear parts,” suggests Rovere. BALINIT C is a Tungsten Carbide/Carbon-based coating (referred to as WC/C) that includes a mixture of metal and diamond-like carbon. “This Tungsten WC/C ductile coating has a high load-bearing capacity — even when used with insufficient lubrication or dry contact.” This is significant because gear oil and lubricants are typically costly and challenging to efficiently maintain in turbines at remote wind farms. According to Rovere, PVD coatings are an important option for wind operators wanting to optimize their fleet. However, the coating has limitations. Uncovering nitriding Unfortunately, there are limits to the size of products that can be coated with PVD. This is particularly true as wind turbines are built larger and taller to take advantage of greater wind speeds. The ring gears in large gearboxes, for example, can measure up to three meters in diameter. For such large gears, a nitriding process is recommended to increase the surface hardness of the metal. “Nitriding is a heat-treating process that diffuses nitrogen deep into the surface of a metal to create a casehardened surface,” explains Rovere. “Because it is not a coating, it will not affect the overall dimensions of the component.” 28


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Although traditional gas nitriding costs less, plasma nitriding has the advantage of making the treatment more precise by minimizing warping and distortion, while providing a higher loadbearing capacity.

Rovere says his company recently put this process to the test. In an FZG pitting test BALITHERM IONIT, a plasma nitriding process from Oerlikon Balzers exhibited one-fifth the roundness deviation and seven times better planarity than gas nitriding on a twometer diameter ring gear. Another potential application for plasma nitriding treats the surfaces of large bearing cages used with wind turbine bearings to increase the sliding wear resistance against the rollers. The process can be used on components with up to 3-m diameters, 10-m long, and weighing up to 40 tons. “Compared to gas nitriding, the tolerances for roundness, planarity, and parallelism can be adhered to much better,” says Rovere. “This is true even with large components, such as the ring gears. It is also an important discovery for the service life of a system where enormous forces are at work.” W

TOP: Specialized PVD coatings and nitriding can significantly increase the durability and lifespan of wind-turbine components, such planetary gears. BOTTOM: Nitriding is a heat-treating process that diffuses nitrogen deep into the surface of a metal to create a case-hardened surface.

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David Clark President CMS Wind

Your turbine talks through vibration trends. Are you listening?


he purpose of condition monitoring is to predict failures. Vibration condition monitoring, when configured correctly (and most are not), gives a lead time to failures from 6 to 24 months on major drivetrain components. You may ask: How is that possible? It turns out that each component emits a vibration relative to its condition. A good bearing for example, will not emit a particular vibration at a high level. A bad bearing will. When configured and monitored correctly using vibration condition monitoring, this emitted vibration is measured relative to heath of that component. Unfortunately, there is a common misperception in the wind industry that a baseline vibration is essential to understand whether or not a component is failing. Tire pressure provides an analogy that might be helpful. For instance, do you need to know the tire pressure when you drive your car off the dealership? Of course not. You know when a tire goes flat. While this trend example is not a perfect analogy, there are a few nonstandard trends in vibration that are quite helpful from an O&M perspective.

Lubrication trends One of the most commonly measured vibration signals tells of a lack of lubrication. This is particularly common in generators and main bearings where lubrication is essentially predicated on interval maintenance. How widespread of an issue is this? Of the gigawatts of turbines currently monitored, most every site has a widespread lubrication problem. In the illustration, A pre-lubrication vibration measurement, vibration sensing has detected a high level of bearing vibration so a check of the lubrication interval was suggested. The next scheduled lubrication was not overdue. You can see on the graph, Post-lubrication measurement, that lubrication did in fact initially reduce the vibration. A second application was needed as indicated by the second peak in the vibration trend. Finally, after the second application of lubrication, the generator bearing vibration returned to normal. Observing the trend could let an O&M team avoid a nearly $80,000 charge for a new generator bearing.

The vibration signal comes from a generator bearing in a wind turbine after some period in service and before a lubrication. All graphs here plot an instant of vibration versus frequency.

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The same bearing from the previous plot after lubrication. It shows a significant reduction in vibration.

The brown plot indicates high vibration in a bearing. With sufficient time, it’s easy to see a trend to greater vibration. (A trend, however, is not needed to determine that a vibration if too high. The orange line indicates an alert level while the red line indicates an alarm level. At the first blue arrow, the turbine was taken out of service for maintenance and returned sometime later at a vibration level lower than when the plot began.

The vibration from a main bearing indicates a lubrication problem.

Several other generators on this particular site also displayed similar vibration characteristics. The chart, Vibration trends pre and post lubrication, shows a representative wind farm and its vibrations. It turns out that most vibration measured relative to the drivetrain health is towards the back half of the wind turbine, toward the generator. Most turbine models follow this same failure distribution as the higher the speed, the faster, and more frequently these components fail. That means on average, a main-bearing failure trend will take 24+ months to fail at 16 rpm. While the generator bearings will take 6+ months at 1,400 rpm. Post repair trends This is very basic. Vibration that measured high prior to repair should trend to a normal vibration level post repair.



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Transient operational vibration trends In this newer age of mining SCADA data for improvements in production, it is surprising how much CMS (condition monitoring system) data is available from properly configured systems that would assist with improvements. While there are limited SCADA data inputs relative to accurate health prognostications, there are specific data inputs in CMS that illustrate loads and trends. Vibration-trend measurements make it easy to see spikes in component vibration under certain operating conditions. Here is what must happen to make better use of vibration data: Correlate vibration data with operational data The controllers in steam and gas turbines are preprogrammed to avoid critical speeds and resonances. These known operating conditions result in high vibration. There is room for the same approach in the wind industry given the ability to understand detrimental vibration under specific controller conditions. Variables, such as pitch, yaw, and others create detrimental component vibration. There are a few considerations. For example, these vibration signals are specific to a component. As evidenced by these trends, certain operational conditions impact specific component health. Hence, measurement trends capture two unique vibrations: one under specific operating conditions and a vibration specific to a component.

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TOP: Vibration peak indicates an issue in the generator. Further electrical testing is needed to determine a root cause. BOTTOM: The vibration signal indicates an electrical issue and bearing damage from fluting, a condition that occurs when a stray current discharges through a bearing.

For example, vibration measurements should show a significant spike in the main-bearing vibration when a yaw angle deviates from the wind direction. The spikes arise when the yaw deviates more than 6° on some towers. That means a nacel misaligned with the wind direction generates a load that imparts undue stress to downwind components. Vibration also measures this periodic spike in vibration in the rest of the drive train.

An electrical current that discharges through a bearing produces damage of this sort called fluting.

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Generator test trends Of the drive train failures, nearly 50% are located in the generator. Of these, about 66% manifest themselves in bearing failures. While these are easy to see and predict in condition monitoring data, the other 33% of failures are electrical in nature and less obvious. However, vibration condition monitoring, when done correctly, can detect these failures in a general sense. Specific electric tests can point to subcomponent failures. These tests take little time per generator and are trend-able. For example, surge, partial discharge, polarization index, resistance tests are all trend-able and helpful in determining failures in the generator windings, insulation, and wire. W



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S O F T WA R E Paul Dvorak Editorial Director Windpower Engineering & Development

(Left) Upwind turbines create wakes which rob power from downstream turbines. Wakes also induce stresses which can lower component lifetime. (Right) With WindWisdem working, turbines will coordinate their movements to increase aggregate plant power output and reduce fatigue loads.

Optimizing the whole wind farm may be the better way to repower, and more


software developer working with NREL-conceived control modules has introduced a software-based, plant-level control platform in which all turbines on a wind farm work together to extract the maximum energy from wind streams. Developer WindWISDEM says its repowering service allows wind-farm operators in many cases to extend production Tax Credits (PTC) for an additional 10 years. Cloudcomputing services also make such turbine control more feasible because it lowers the cost of the considerable computing needed to get the most out of a wind farm with 100 turbines or more. Company CEO James Kiles says the WindWISDEM focus is to steer wakes away from downstream turbines to boost their outputs and decrease damage from stress. “We have supported NREL to expand its initial research along with NextERA in a development agreement to test the system on several of its turbines,” he says.



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Separately, WindWISDEM is advancing wake theory with its team. “Wake turbulence comes from many wind force inputs,” Kiles says. “As a result, the center line of wake direction is not going to be parallel to the wind impact. We are developing formulas for measuring and understanding wake center lines and curvature that are built into our cloud platform to manage calculations that are becoming even more complex.” To handle such complexities, recently improved wake theories advanced by industry experts from places such as DTU and Siemens have been added to the system. This is important because as newer turbines are built larger, their wakes or displacements will be larger, making management more important to maximizing ROI. This repowering technology is said to deliver increased revenue from energy production for existing turbines by up to 10% and possibly more. Its deployment can be critical to meeting the IRS’

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requirements for PTC at a fraction of the cost of purchasing expensive new hardware. Advanced simulations conducted by scientists project that power output at any given instant could be twice a wind farm’s production when turbine settings are optimized. The repowering opportunity lies in three areas. “First, understanding and calculating for wind displacement or wake from individual turbines. Second, using software optimization to understand the impact of displacements and suggest turbine adjustments. And third, a full wind farm deployment, where required calculations grow exponentially with more turbines and bigger opportunities for gains. To address the wind farm operation intelligently, you need cloud-computing services to handle the calculations,” says Kiles. He adds that the new service reduces cost burdens on repowering wind farms that were previously forced to consider only replacing working production equipment to meet improvement thresholds required to extend PTCs.

be to first optimize around the concept of managing displacements. After improving power outputs and with more revenue flowing from power production, then perform the hardware upgrades. The company is conducting a proof of concept now, and before this year is out Kiles expects to have 20 proofs of concept in place – 20 different wind farms. “Beginning in July, our software will be available to optimize any wind farm that wants to be optimized,” he says. W

Resources I N T E R A C T I V E

By leveraging their existing infrastructure with intelligent software, operators will be able to quickly and inexpensively repower. “By leveraging their existing infrastructure with intelligent software, operators will be able to quickly and inexpensively repower,” Kiles says. Now is a good time to do so given the reduction in wind-energy prices and the pending expiration of the production tax credit in December of 2019. “Securing an additional 10 years of PTCs at comparatively minimal cost is a common-sense approach,” he adds. While wake steering and avoiding the impact of turbulence on downstream turbines are important goals of the software, in some cases it is possible to maximize benefits of wind turbulence. “This can happen in lowto-moderate speed winds, where this kind of technology will be most impactful. Interestingly, low winds generally occur at the time of maximum pricing in the industry,” says Kiles. There’s been minimal activity in terms of actually repairing old turbines and giving them upgrades. Most upgrades replace old machines with new turbines. Kiles says a better strategy would JUNE 2018

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It’s hard to believe that there’s more to this already hefty handbook, but it’s true! Don’t forget to check out our interactive components on

Interactive Wind Project Map View utility-scale U.S. wind projects state by state with full details including location, size, type, developer, owner, power purchaser and more.

Clean Energy Opportunity Map

Wind Turbine Selector Tool



6/19/18 2:33 PM

OFFSHORE Michelle Froese Senior Editor Windpower Engineering & Development

E.ON has developed a new anti-corrosion Thermal Spray Aluminum process for wind-turbine towers that significantly reduces environmental impacts and last 25 years.

What’s new in offshore wind


he U.S. offshore wind industry has certainly taken its time forming, and perhaps for good reason. Slow and steady may win the race, but in this case it is less about winning and more about wisdom. As Saint Augustine observed: “Patience is the companion of wisdom.” Offshore wind development is a costly venture, but one the UK, for example, has managed to decease by 32% over the past five years. This is, in part, because of improved foundations, turbines, and O&M efficiencies. Patience has meant that the local industry has the good fortune of hindsight, thanks to the 20-plus year history of the offshore wind in the UK and Europe. To date, the United States has only one five-turbine project south of Block Island, R.I., but more projects are in the development pipeline. By one count, U.S. planners foresee 28 offshore wind projects with a total potential capacity of 23,735 MW. As of writing, developers have secured 11 commercial leases from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which oversees



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federal waters, to build over 14 GW of offshore wind off the coasts of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York. One lesson the offshore industry seems to have learned early on is read from the same playbook. Case in point: the U.S. recently launched a new offshore standards initiative. The three-year project is a collaborative effort between industry stakeholders (such as AWEA, the NREL, DOE, BOEM and others). The goal is to update AWEA’s 2012 offshore

DNV GL says a Twistie is a modular project-cargo transport frame that allows shipping three blades as a unit. The stackable blade racks use a twist lock to join one to another. An industry project will use the a Twistie Turbine Cassette to speed offshore storage, transport, and installation.

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compliance recommended practices and develop a set of standards for the offshore wind sector that are recognized by the American National Standards Institute. Standards are particularly important for offshore projects because the risks are greater than on land. Safety starts with the crew transfer vessels and technicians working offshore. In addition, the wind turbines, foundations, and underwater cables have greater potential for wear and corrosion from exposure to seawater, and must be designed to endure offshore conditions. While anti-corrosive materials and protective coatings may seem obvious for environments that routinely expose

The underwater robot will have the great advantage that it can be permanently installed on an underwater foundation where it can monitor and operate independently of the weather conditions. Rambøll Germany, has formulated a specialized anti-corrosion coating for steel foundations offshore. The new Thermal Spray Aluminum (TSA) coating is said to significantly reduce corrosion on monopole foundations for a 25year operating lifetime, and reduce metal deposits into the sea by several hundred tons.

Underwater robots may soon be the go-to machines for underwater inspections and repairs of offshore wind-turbine foundations and rigs. Photo: DTU Electrical Engineering

equipment to saltwater and harsh offshore conditions, engineers are still researching for an ideal combination of materials, components, and safety standards for the industry. To get an idea of what’s new, here are a handful of recent inventions that may benefit the local offshore wind industry, particularly as more projects are approved and developed in U.S. waters. Rust-free foundations Place steel in water long enough, and it will rust. For this reason wind developer, E.ON, in cooperation with JUNE 2018

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for U.S. projects sited in deep water with high winds. To complicate matters, vessels must accommodate stringent requirements regarding the total impact force permitted against offshore structures, including wind turbines and offshore docks or platforms (say, when dropping off or picking up workers). Boats and vessels are typically expected to remain within pre-specified ranges of impact force, and to operate only within certain environmental conditions. This means docking will often be challenging for equipment and crew-transfer vessels. UK Electronic Solutions’ Oceanic Dynamics aims to make learning this skill easier for captains. Oceanic Dynamics is a self-contained motion and impact-monitoring system. According to the developers, the system protects the longevity of offshore assets by monitoring and reporting vessel impact on structures, passenger comfort and safety, and engine performance and reliability. Oceanic Dynamics is also able to monitor fuel efficiency, engine data, and route information, and a vessel’s stability in the water—potentially leading to a smoother sail.

The TSA coating process is automated to save time, costs, and ensure a smooth, continuous application. A robot with two arc burners sprays a 350 μm thick layer of molten aluminum onto each foundation, and then seals the surface with resin. This process is carried out under stringent safety and environmental protection standards, and is nearly dust-free. For the first time, E.ON recently applied TSA to 60 steel foundations for the Arkona offshore wind farm in the German Baltic Sea. Impact-monitoring for safer docking The sea makes no promises, especially



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Offshore cable protection Unlike onshore wind-farm installations, offshore cabling routes are typically more difficult to access, install, and repair. Therefore, cable protection is essential to reduce the risk of faults or damage. Trelleborg’s NjordGuard protects offshore wind-farm power cables by reducing drag and snagging risks. Trelleborg says the system requires minimal assembly, is easily extendable, and can be manufactured to meet any diameter cable. What’s more is the system can be installed, removed, and reused without the use of remotely operated vehicles or diver intervention, thereby improving safety and reducing installation challenges.

Establishing a JIP will de-risk the implementation of this technology and promote the ‘unitization’ of wind project cargo. Understanding the technicalities of existing wind industry transportation methods let us demonstrate the benefits that a standardized unit approach will bring to the entire industry. “The solution also permits monopile and J-tube installations for wind-turbine generators and offshore substation platforms without procedural variation,” said John Deasey, Renewables Sales Manager at Trelleborg’s UK offshore operation. Securing turbine cargo with a twist The transport of wind-turbine cargo offshore requires a range of safety procedures that ensure the equipment and onboard crew remain unharmed. To this end, DNV GL has launched a joint industry project (JIP) to develop recommended practice intended to derisk the adoption of a wind turbine cargo fastening process, known as “twisties.” The twisties concept is a modular projectcargo transport frame that is sea-fastened using container twist locks. Twist-lock, stackable blade racks are now typical on the decks of installation vessels. 36


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According to DNV GL, transporting turbines and other wind farm components using “Twisties” significantly lowers construction program durations. It also allows installing greater quantities of turbines to be installed using a defined number of turbine installation vessels. In fact, the concept demonstrates cost savings of over 25% in some cases when compared to conventional installation practice. “Establishing a JIP will de-risk the implementation of this technology and promote the ‘unitization’ of wind project cargo,” said Chris Garrett, Senior Offshore Wind Farms Engineer, DNV GL. “Understanding the technicalities of existing wind industry transportation methods let us demonstrate the benefits that a standardized unit approach will bring to the entire industry.” Robot-led underwater inspections Researchers at the Technical University of Demark are working on a modular robot for use in offshore wind-turbine platforms. The robot will first be used for underwater inspections, with the long-term aim of it helping with repairs on foundations and rigs. For example, the robot could install and replace sensors in a subsea docking station, which could be placed on the foundation of a wind turbine to provide continuous monitoring. Currently, remotely operated vehicles (ROV) along with divers are hired to inspect and repair damage to foundations. However, such arrangements are costly and weatherdependent. “The underwater robot will have the great advantage that it can be permanently installed on an underwater foundation where it can monitor and operate independently of the weather conditions,” said Professor Mogens Blanke from DTU Electrical Engineering, acting supervisor for a few of the PhD students contributing to the research. W

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Regional Wind Energy Conference – Northeast June 26 – 27 | Portland, ME

Wind Resource & Project Assessment Conference

September 11 – 12 | Austin, TX

Wind Energy Finance & Investment Conference – East October 1 – 2 | New York, NY

Wind Energy Finance & Investment Conference – West October 5 | San Francisco, CA

Offshore WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition October 16 – 17 | Washington, DC

Wind Energy Fall Symposium

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November 13 – 15 | Colorado Springs, CO

6/19/18 11:15 AM


U r i e l M . O k o , P. E . Recycle Management Inc, dba Corrosion Services

Think cathodic protection for land based, wind-turbine foundations

T Rebar of the plinth, yet to be encased in concrete, is subject to high stresses from bending moments that can result in cracks.

he recent massive concrete foundations of landbased wind turbines have not yet experienced corrosion failures because of the protective shield of the concrete that encases their steel rebars. However, in time, corrosive carbonates, sulfates, and chlorides diffuse through all concrete structures, eventually causing oxidation of the rebar which swells and cracks the concrete that surrounds it. Concrete bridges, for example, show signs of corrosion after about

20 years. Many wind turbines are about to reach the age of 20 when corrosion could become a cost issue. To make matters worse, turbine rotors transmit tremendous moments to the plinth, the concrete around the base of the steel tower. Calculations show that a 2-MW turbine with 43-m blades can transmit 34-million Nm (25-million of moment to the plinth, while the coming 9-MW turbines with 82-m blades produce some 190-million Nm (140-million These can cause deflection and vibration amplitudes of 0.5

Elevation of a cathodic protection system The plan view shows the turbine foundation and required electrical connections for cathodic protection.



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The hook up to protect the plinth looks like this.

millimeter and 2.5 mm respectively at the plinth. Concrete is excellent in compression but poor in tension and known to crack at the plinth. These cracks are sure gateways to corrosion of rebar in the foundation . One way to control the corrosion is with cathodic protection controls of the rebar steel, by making it a cathode in an electrolyte. More simply, it is a technique whereby electrons are provided to the surface of the rebarsteel, thus avoiding corrosion. Sacrificial anodes of aluminum, for example, are often attached to expensive structures such as boats, ships, oil platforms, and sea-based wind turbines to prevent corrosion. But aluminum anodes in the process, sacrifice their electrons to the steel. The aluminum dissolves and must be replaced. However, electrons can also be provided by inert anodes and dc current. Thus, a typical phone charger, a small rectifier, can provide protection by hooking its positive terminal to a permanent anode that is buried next to a negative but small steel structure. In addition, the power for cathodic protection can be self-generated. The schematic, Cathodic protection of the plinth, shows the transformer intended to stepdown nacelle voltage to 120V. It is connected to a dc rectifier and a rheostat that delivers power to an anode. The return negative terminal of the rectifier JUNE 2018

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Protecting the entire concrete base calls for a larger anode ring.

is connected to a rebar. A battery pack can provide for continuous protection. The anode can be dedicated to the plinth only, or when costs permit, to the entire foundation structure, as in the illustration Cathodic protection for the entire foundation. The main costs for cathodic protection of a turbine are the cost of the anode and of digging the anode ditch. Cathodic protection requires moderate power. For example, preliminary calculations show less than 40 Watts for the plinth and perhaps 100 Watts for the entire structure. Also, the cost of the rectifier-transformer and rheostat can be less than $10,000. W

FOR FURTHER READING 1 Perry et al, Sensors 17(8) p1925, 2017 2 Hassanzadeh M. Elforsk Rapport 11:56 free Internet download at file:

The schematic provides a clearer view of the electrical components



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Paul Dvorak Editor Windpower Engineering & Development

Lagerwey L136, 4.5 MW


ost wind-turbine OEMs continually focus on improving the equipment in their nacelles. The engineers at Lagerwey have taken their responsibilities further with a few ideas for a better tower and a clever tower-climbing crane that trims construction and maintenance costs. Unfortunately, the company does not market in the U.S. so you might think its home country of Holland is trying to keep the company a secret. Let’s change that perception with a “walkthrough” that starts in the nacelle. The L136 is a 4.5-MW direct-drive design that sports a permanentmagnet generator so it needs no troublesome gearbox. Generator efficiency hits about 97%, says the company, at full and partial load because there is no need for magnetizing currents and their associated losses. The generator contains few moving parts, so it is said to wear slower than conventional wind-turbine generators. Another plus for the design: the generator needs no cooling system. The thermal path between the heat source and cooling fins on the outside is as short as possible, so the design uses the natural air flow around the generator to match its cooling needs. The torque density (an indicator of output per weight, Nm/kg) of the latest generator is higher than conventional direct-drive generators because the magnetic topology uses permanent magnets. This results in a smaller generator diameter with relatively low mass because it needs less active material. The high partial-load performance has an important role in the turbine’s overall energy capture because the turbine spends most of its time in wind speeds that produce less than the rated power. The company says the design is suitable for sites with high turbulence and significant differences in vertical wind shear. Example locations would be coastal areas with severe wind conditions or inland locations where forests or buildings produce speed differences from the lowest to highest tip height. 4 0 WINDPOWER ENGINEERING & DEVELOPMENT

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The cutaway shows a few details in the nacelle.

A few more figures for the L136 CHARACTERISTIC VALUE Nominal power

4.5 MW


3 blades, upwind

Safety system

Three independent systems with emergency power provision

Rotor diameter 136m Swept surface

Converter Controls

Wind speeds, Cut in and out Lube system Tower

14, 584 m2

Full power ac-dc-ac IGBT control, water cooled 2.5 and 25 m/s Automatically controlled bearing and gear lubrication Modular steel tower, 120, 132, 144, or 166m

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The tower is less conventional than the direct-drive generator. It allows heights up to a remarkable 166m. The Modular Steel Tower or MST consists of steel plates assembled at a project site, which can be built higher than conventional towers and at lower costs. The MST also weighs less than conventional towers, which reduces transport costs. When compared to a concrete tower, shipping costs are cut by 90% according to Lagerwey. Furthermore, the 166-m tower transports with little concern for existing infrastructure such as underpasses. (Read about the world’s tallest wind-turbine tower here: and more on a U.S. designed modular tower here: A few other standard features include a service lift, rescue module gondola, and a method for noise reduction. Options include obstruction lights, ice management, and castshade regulation.

TOP: The MST is a Lagerwey design and consists of formed metal sheets that easily transport on standard trucks. The tower is assembled on site by bolting the metal sheets together by a proven method used in other industries and for a lifetime connection. RIGHT: The interface connection between the Climbing Crane and tower prevents any risk of crane instability during turbine assembly. This is said to provide a safer working environment than traditional methods. It is also possible to hoist at higher wind speeds. Depending on the weight and load dimensions, the crane can be used at wind speeds up to 15 m/s.

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A clever company-designed crane can climb the tower to install its upper sections, and presumably the nacelle as well. The crane ‘climbs’ on connection points mounted on the MST. Lagerwey says the design simplifies the wind turbine’s installation and allows higher wind turbines at challenging and remote locations where conventional high-lift equipment would be difficult to maneuver. The Climbing Crane transports on only three standard trailers and without special escort. At the construction site, roads need no reinforcement. Normal requirements for transportation of windturbine components are sufficient. For assembly, the crane needs only about 350m2 and is typically operational within a day. What’s more, a similar design suitable for tubular and concrete towers is also under development by the Lagerwey R&D team. Of course, each wind project and its location is unique and has its own challenges. So for those who prefer old-school methods, Lagerwey says its wind turbines can be assembled with regular hoisting cranes. The Dutch manufacturer adds that it has been developing wind turbines for 37 years and has more than 1,200 units installed worldwide. W



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Michelle Froese • Senior Editor

Wind technicians face hazards every time they climb atop a wind turbine. Techs must contend with heights, high voltage, overhead and rotating equipment, and exposure to unforgiving weather. Such challenges may be unavoidable, but digitalization (think IoT-connected software and virtual reality) is changing how often techs must climb uptower and how they train to do so. The result: a safer industry.



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here’s much data to support the digitalization of wind farms through monitoring software and the internet of things (IoT). IoT lets equipment connect and communicate locally (such as one wind turbine to another), or remotely (a wind farm to a distant control center). When combined with predictive monitoring software with real-time access, such intelligence can significantly increase the generation capacity of a wind farm. Typically, advanced control software and remote connections are promoted for their production value. You’ve likely heard of GE’s Digital Wind Farm, which lets wind owners and operators collect and analyze asset and site-level data in real time, thanks to intelligent, cloud-based software. GE says its system can increase energy production by as much as 20%, which translates to many millions in extra revenue over the lifetime of a wind turbine. While there’s great value in increasing the levelized cost of energy for a project, and that is likely every wind-farm owner’s goal, a little-mentioned but important benefit of digitalization is the increased safety for wind technicians.

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Two Minnesota-based companies are working to predict and prevent potential workplace hazards through the sharing of real-time data and safety risk concerns from workers connected to intelligent safety gear through the internet of things.

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Driving toward

workplace injuries

Prior to the digital era, when a turbine component began to fail or production from the turbine slowly degraded, a wind tech would climb uptower to investigate why. Now, software can tell what component is causing the problem (sometimes before it becomes one), and how to fix it. This may save time uptower, or possibly an entire trip uptower if the problem can be solved remotely. Of course, the less time a technician spends climbing up and down a wind turbine, the more safety risks he or she mitigates. Climbing risks Advancements in digital software are affecting all stages of a wind farm’s lifecycle. For example, GE says that by using its digital program during the design stage of a wind project, engineers can mix and match up to 20 different turbine configurations to ensure they build the ideal wind turbines for the farm, based on its location, weather conditions, and so on. A better design should lead to a more effective turbine that experiences less downtime — and less downtime means fewer unscheduled O&M checks. Although wind techs must be protected from the risk of falling when they work at heights of six feet or greater, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s construction industry’s fall-protection standard (and four feet by general industry standards), every climb uptower presents a risk.

to crouch down or work on his or knees). Certain tasks that techs perform require prolonged kneeling, followed by climbing down a vertical ladder. Industry approved fall-protection equipment (when fitted and applied properly) certainly mitigates many risks, but slips and strains are still possible, even with the best gear.

In 2015, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee examined factors that contribute to climbers falling from fixed industrial ladders. Strains, sprains, falls, and even fatalities were reported as a possible consequence of

A recent Business Insider Intelligence report projects that there will be more than 55 billion IoT-connected devices by 2025, up from about 9 billion in 2017.

It is important that we continue to develop a workforce that is properly skilled and one that is familiar with new technologies and innovative practices that lead the way. Risk comes many ways. One is in variations in the design of turbine towers between models and manufacturers. Such differences may include the shape and size of ladder rungs, as well as interior nacelle space and height (which may force a tech 4 4 WINDPOWER ENGINEERING & DEVELOPMENT

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climbing and working at heights in the construction and wind-power industries, but they could be prevented. For example, the researchers found that a ladder with limited foot (or toe) clearance increased a climber’s slip risks by

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about six times compared to unrestricted clearance. A technician’s hand and feet responses after a ladder fall can also affect fall severity. In addition, the study found that descending a ladder is a more hazardous task than ascending a ladder. IoT-driven safety To better predict and prevent potential workplace hazards, two Minnesota-based companies are teaming up to develop a platform that lets safety gear connect and communicate through the IoT. The aim is to provide workers, such as wind techs, intelligent safety gear that facilitates immediate, remote communication between safety professionals and workers. “Advancements in sensor technologies and IoT ecosystems have opened the door to obtaining real-time

data at the point of safety — the worker. Safety happens in real time, and the data we use to prevent injuries should also be the same,” says Ted Smith, CEO of Corvex. The IoT company is working with safety gear manufacturer Ergodyne to develop the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) platform, which will provide near-instant data to and from workers relating to safety and risk management. This is important because jobsite injury rates over the past several years have remained fairly stagnant.

“For the past three years, we have been actively exploring opportunities to take our products to the next level: from inert to intelligent and connected. We see it as the next logical step in our somewhat utopian-sounding, but very real mission of driving toward zero workplace injuries,” explains Tom Votel, president and CEO of Ergodyne. An IoT-connected safety platform allows insight and analysis of safety conditions in real time, so that management can make appropriate decisions to reduce and mitigate risk exposure or refine jobsite training. According to Corvex, an IoT-driven PPE platform offers three benefits.

A more connected work environment through the internet of things may lead to a safer one wind techs working remotely. The improvements will come from real-time communications with central control stations and safety management teams.

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Driving toward

workplace injuries • Worker engagement. When communication is easy and accessible, workers are more likely to report risks and safety incidences. Increased worker engagement also leads to improved safety measures, finds Corvex.

• Enhanced safety analytics. Typically, safety data is lagging and only sometimes reported by site workers. An IoT-connected platform allows for more accurate metrics, which should lead to better safety management and training.

• Proactive decision-making. Connected safety environments can provide key risk indicators on a 24/7 basis, so hazards can be identified and eliminated more quickly. A better understanding of a site can also lead to predictive data management that may prevent injuries and incidents before they occur.

Corvex and Ergodyne’s IoT-driven platform is still in the works, but the companies believe that a measurable safety strategy is the best way to improve workplace safety and productivity. “We’re still in the early stages, but already working diligently on building connected intelligent safety solutions that are pretty exciting,” says Votel. “At the same time, we’re aware that this exciting leap forward needs to be grounded in real world applications…so stay tuned.”

REDUCING UNSCHEDULED DOWNTIME The more software developers and machinelearning experts refine their wind-farm O&M programs, the less time wind technicians will likely spend atop a turbine. This is because predictive analytics can diagnose a turbine problem remotely and without the need for an engineer onsite. Earlier this year, for example, renewable developer Invenergy completed a two-part, 60-day pilot of software from NarrativeWave, an IoT software company, to optimize its fleet of wind turbines. According to Invenergy, the first use case focused on “Reducing Lost Production,” and the second focused on “Reducing Unscheduled Downtime” (meaning fewer trips uptower). As part of the pilot testing, turbine experts, including mechanical and electrical engineers, were asked to build analytic models and deploy them across a fleet of turbines without the need for data scientists. Through these pilots, operators in the 24/7 Invenergy Control Center used NarrativeWave to fully automate timeconsuming manual processes and accelerate return-to-service times on wind turbines 4 6 WINDPOWER ENGINEERING & DEVELOPMENT

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and, in some cases, by more than 50%. For example, if the temperature on a high-speed generator bearing has signaled an alarm, a control room operator would typically log into a web page and manually analyze a host of variables, such as temperature, wind speed, and power production to decipher a next course of action. However, with NarrativeWave, this process is fully automated, providing the operator a recommendation in mere seconds. Invenergy refers to such advanced software as a “self-operating” model because it lets the company automate much of its actions without outside support, such as input from an engineer. This also means that, for the most part, a wind tech need no longer visit a wind site or climb uptower to determine why a turbine is failing to produce as expected. Although engineers and wind techs are still required for scheduled maintenance visits and repairs, one could imagine a future that’s eventually highly automated, saving techs many unnecessary climbs or time uptower.

Virtual training While little replaces the data or experience gained from an onsite wind-farm visit, another method the wind industry is testing to enhance the training of wind technicians is virtual reality, or VR. Fife College in Scotland recently unveiled an Immersive Hybrid Reality (iHR) laboratory, which provides VR training environments for offshore wind-turbine technicians. The system lets students conduct detailed fault-finding inspections atop a virtual 7-MW offshore wind turbine, modeled after ORE Catapult’s Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine. Students using VR systems are placed virtually at the turbine site and are able to “see” the life-like surroundings, including their own hands and feet. They can also select from virtual tools or the manuals necessary to diagnose and repair the turbine — which is set over 110 m above the water. The realistic site conditions are combined with the sounds of the wind and changing weather conditions. According to Fife College, the system provides one of the most realistic training environments for wind technicians anywhere in the world.

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“It is important that we continue to develop a workforce that is properly skilled and one that is familiar with new technologies and innovative practices that lead the way,” says Shirley-Anne Somerville, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, in a press statement. “It will no doubt be the skills and confidence of our workforce that help us build a stronger economy going forward and it is therefore right that we continue to invest in projects like this.” The iHR system was developed by the Energy Skills Partnership, HeriotWatt University, and visualization specialists at Animmersion UK, in partnership with the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult. The first phase of the system is a top-of-turbine inspection, and phase two, which is currently under development, will let students inspect the internal workings of the turbine to locate potential component failures. W JUNE 2018

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ABOVE: The Scottish Government's Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, experiences ORE Catapult's Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine via Fife College's new Immersive Hybrid Reality system. Photo: Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult |

It will no doubt be the skills and confidence of our workforce that help us build a stronger economy going forward and it is therefore right that we continue to invest in projects like this.



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ience and

P a i g e J o h n s o n • Outreach and Engagement Manager American Wind Wildlife Institute

Wildlife impacts of wind energy are low compared to other energy sources. Still, work remains to understand the risks and develop more ways to ensure it’s as safe as possible for all wildlife. Photo: Iberdrola Renewables


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Golden eagles soar in the picturesque landscape outside of Glenrock, Wyoming, home of Duke Energy Renewables’ Top of the World wind farm. Like other wind energy developers in the U.S. and abroad, Duke Energy invests significant time and resources into minimizing the risks to birds and other wildlife from their facilities. Shortly after Top of the World went into operation in 2010, the company redoubled its conservation efforts upon finding the site had relatively high eagle activity. They removed possible food sources for eagles, such as livestock carrion, and tested a variety of

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p o w d n e i r w s e afer k a m f n or o i t ra


o b olla

New t

l enta m n o r str y and col envi u d n d g ro u a y n l r a i t b o ra t i o n b e t w e e n i n d u s ps ca g the n i n p ro t e w o r ile g c t w i l d l i fe a ro u n d w i n d fa r m s w h echn

olog y

technologies to help detect eagles. Despite these efforts, eagle fatalities occurred at the wind farm, and in 2013 Duke Energy settled federal misdemeanor charges by agreeing to $1 million in fines and restitution. Although the wildlife impacts of wind energy are low compared to other energy sources, work remains to understand the risks and develop more ways to ensure it’s as safe as possible for wildlife such as birds and bats -- while maximizing production of clean energy that JUNE 2018

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benefits all wildlife by helping mitigate climate change. In 2008, the wind industry and the conservation community came together to create the American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI), an independent nonprofit organization that pursues innovative, evidence-based approaches. Today, AWWI continues research at Top of the World, where a camera system is being tested that uses artificial intelligence to spot approaching eagles to help minimize impacts.



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Minimizing impacts through technology Technologies are emerging that make it possible to reduce collision risks for wildlife while minimizing curtailment and downtime for turbines. Developers combine biology, computing, and engineering to detect target species and deter them from approaching or curtail the turbines when the system determines that target species are at risk of a collision.

The next three years hold great promise for more progress in priority areas such as using big data to understand risk for bats like this hoary bat. Photo: Brandon Baerwald.



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Some technology-based approaches, such as ReCON (Remote Condor Observation Network) already operate at wind farms. Through a combination of radio signals and a GPS-enabled geofence, ReCON alerts staff at a Tehachapi wind farm when endangered radio-tagged California Condors are within a certain range of the turbines, so they can curtail operations. A condor has never been killed at a wind farm, and thanks to this detection technology, turbines in areas that overlap with their ranges can operate at little risk to this iconic protected species.

Field testing is underway for many other technologies targeting different species. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with industry, is funding the development and testing of five technologies to deter bats from turbines, several of which use ultrasonic signals (sounds at frequencies too high for humans to hear, but audible to bats). DOE is also co-funding AWWI’s Technology Innovation program to evaluate two technologies intended to reduce collision risk for eagles and other raptors. DTBird uses cameras to scan the skies and emits loud signals intended to deter birds from the area when it detects a species of concern. IdentiFlight uses cameras and artificial intelligence to detect and classify eagles, and issue a curtailment order if it determines an eagle to be at risk of collision. These two tests expand on beta tests of both technologies conducted by AWWI from 2016 to 2017. The organization’s evaluations help determine which technologies are most effective for what, where, and why. They provide independent, scientifically rigorous testing across multiple sites, and impartial, publicly-available results. The Institute’s beta test of IdentiFlight was conducted at Duke Energy’s Top of the World. Based on the results, Duke Energy has now installed 24 units at the site. Using big data to understand risk Reducing risks is only possible by first understanding those risks. Wind companies have tried to assess which species are most at-risk through laborious post-construction monitoring for fatalities: paying staff and consultants to systematically survey areas around turbines and count any birds or bats that have died from collisions. This practice is important for understanding local impacts, and as a result, we better understand those impacts for wind energy than from many other human-caused contributors to bird and bat fatalities. Yet these studies have typically been performed at limited sites, with no way to aggregate and analyze geographically representational data.

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ma tion a r o cie nce and collab



AWWI is solving this problem through a new shared, protected database called the American Wind Wildlife Information Center (AWWIC) – which is possible only because of the institute's collaborative model. Already the largest database of postconstruction fatality data in the U.S., AWWIC includes confidential and public information from wind farms across the country. It provides the first chance to analyze data from many sites and many species all at once. Analysts are now looking for patterns in the data based on bird and bat species and location to better assess risks and strategies to reduce them. Project developers will rely on the results to inform their decisions on sites and conservation plans. That will help target investments to where they can do the most good, and cut costs. Mitigation for conservation: offsetting fatalities Occasionally, despite the best risk assessment, due diligence, and advanced technologies, an eagle is killed in a collision with a wind turbine. Companies can apply for permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that let them offset that fatality by preventing the death of another eagle (or in the case of golden eagles, an average of 1.2 eagles saved per eagle lost). Similar to a conservation bank, this option ensures that the local population will not suffer an overall loss. Until recently, companies’ only offset option was to retrofit power poles to make them safer for eagles (certain types of poles pose a greater risk of electrocution). This works, but is limited by the location and number of power poles that meet the criteria. The challenge for creating new offset options is that researchers must rigorously prove their conservation effect before they are accepted by the Fish and Wildlife Service. AWWI has already published one new model on reducing eagle deaths related to poisoning from lead bullets used in hunting. A second model, pending publication, suggests reducing eagles killed from vehicle collisions by removing carrion from roads. This strategy has already been proposed for use by a wind company as part of its Eagle Conservation Plan. With these and other models in development, companies will soon have additional ways to support overall eagle conservation when individual impacts can’t be avoided. JUNE 2018

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ke wind power safer fo r

HAPPY 10TH AWWI Solving wind-wildlife challenges takes collaboration across many sectors. This is where AWWI comes in: Wind companies with facilities across the country contribute data and volunteer their sites for studies. Conservationists and scientists provide information on wildlife ranges, habitats, and behaviors. Engineers and biologists develop technologies for evaluation. And federal and state regulators have current, evidence-based results to inform best practices. A decade after industry and conservation leaders committed to working together and investing in AWWI, that investment is paying off. AWWI marks its 10th year and many milestones in developing and implementing solutions for wind energy and wildlife to thrive together. “Together, our partners, scientists, and investors are getting this done smarter and faster to ensure fully sustainable wind power,” said Abby Arnold, AWWI Executive Director. This year the institute will release major results of risk analysis and technology evaluation. The next three years hold great promise for more progress in priority areas such as using big data to understand risk for bats and birds and using artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce risk for eagles. These results will guide future investment, allow wind companies to focus on effective solutions, and help pave the way to a fully sustainable energy future.



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The red tailed hawk has found good hunting near the wind turbines at the Puget Sound Energy Wild Horse Wind Facility.



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Success for wind energy and wildlife Wind energy remains broadly popular with the public and scientific experts. For example, Pew Research Center reported in May 2018 that 85% of U.S. adults support “more wind turbine farms.” Conservation groups overwhelmingly support wind and other sources of renewable energy due to their ability to combat climate change and pollution, which are far more threatening to wildlife than the relatively minimal impacts on certain birds and bats from wind energy. These groups and wind energy companies alike still want to ensure that wind is as safe as possible for wildlife, and upholds its legacy of care for the environment to the greatest extent practicable. AWWI represents a new model for approaching this cross-sector challenge. The institute is applying new technological approaches to the problem to understand and reduce risk through sound science and collaboration. With this approach, wind operators can reduce costs and human resources while achieving greater wildlife conservation so that wind energy can fulfill on its environmental promise and continue to lead the clean energy transformation. W

AWWI collaborators scout a wind farm.


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Offshore wind industry Eoghan Quinn • Global Wind Lead Wo r l e y P a r s o n s G r o u p

deeper water


Floating wind turbines are the next frontier for the offshore wind industry. There are challenges aplenty but the lure of 60% capacity factors is too good to resist.


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In 2017,

the offshore wind industry hit milestones and made headlines. That breakthrough year saw the sector become more commercially viable and realize its global potential. Wind Europe said that in 2016, the sector added 25% wind capacity. That was on average, the capacity of 500 more turbines connected to the grid. What’s more, the Global Wind Energy Council reported offshore wind had its first subsidy-free tender in Germany, for more than 1 gigawatt (GW) of new offshore capacity. And that was just the start. Having made the leap from onshore to offshore, the industry is poised to make another significant move: the jump from fixed-base to floating offshore wind. As with the first shift, this entails new layers of fiscal, technical, operational, and regulatory complexity. It’s a tough challenge, but the rewards are enormous because most of the potential global offshore wind resource is in waters too deep for conventional fixed offshore wind. The leap is similar to when the oil and gas industry started building floating structures in the 1970s, a move which also opened new deep-water markets such as the Gulf of Mexico, Latin America, and West Africa. It’s a high risk, high reward strategy. Much like the evolution of floating structures in oil and gas – SPAR, tension-leg platforms, and even new low-motion FPSOs – if those tapping into floating offshore wind want to get it right, they will need to draw on the expertise of those familiar with the complexities of designing, building, operating, and maintaining assets in these highly complex offshore environments. Making waves Wind is in its ascendancy. The last 12 months were monumental for the sector, with major projects for developers such as Orsted, Vattenfall, and Statoil agreed without subsidies for the first time in the industry’s history. A target to reduce costs to €100/megawatt hour (MWh) by 2020 was surpassed four years early – and by a significant margin. More than 3,000 MW of new offshore wind capacity was installed in Europe alone (double that in 2016), taking the total to nearly 16 GW. Yet, the industry is just scratching the surface. Most of today’s installed capacity is in shallow water. It’s what you might call the low hanging fruit.

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Offshore wind industrydeeper water HEADING OUT TO

About 80% of Europe’s potential offshore wind resource is located in water more than 60-m deep. This equates to 4,000 GW of untapped potential in Europe alone, and a further 2,450 GW in the U.S., 500 GW in Japan, and 90 GW in Taiwan, according to the UK’s Carbon Trust and Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Fixed-based wind is not viable in water depths of 60m and more. But floating foundations are. A floating foundation can surmount the engineering challenges



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of deep-water installations, and it offers a different approach to construction that also yields benefits. For example, instead of conducting most building work at-sea using costly heavy-lift vessels, most of a turbine can be constructed quayside and pulled into position by less costly and readily available tugs. Manufacturing and construction costs could tumble. By using deeper waters, floating offshore wind farms also make projects feasible in remote locations that offer more powerful

and reliable wind. However, this must be weighed against higher transmission costs. It’s unsurprising that developed and developing nations are now pursuing offshore wind farms, thanks to the significant cost reduction in fixed-bottom wind (a 32% decrease since 2012 according to Offshore Renewable Energy), and the Most concepts for floating wind turbine foundations fall into one of these three categories.

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increasing confidence in offshore renewables as an investment proposition. In 2017 alone, more than €7.5 billion was invested in new European assets. Japan has been testing a number of floating offshore wind prototypes. France has launched ambitious plans for a string of pilot projects off its coast. And Norway recently agreed to move forward with demonstration projects in its own waters. These countries see the potential to build their economies around renewable energy. This energy transition is mostly backed by oil and gas developers, looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint by diversifying their core business. Last year was a turning point for the floating wind industry. Statoil installed the world’s first floating grid-connected offshore wind park, Hywind, offshore Scotland. The 30-MW, fiveturbine pilot wind park has already performed better than expected, despite experiencing a hurricane and wave heights up to 8.2m during its first three months in operation. Statoil reports that the typical capacity factor for a fixed offshore wind farm during winter months in the North Sea is a respectable 45 to 60%. More remarkably, Hywind achieved 65% during November, December, and January 2018. The fact that a pilot floating project is already meeting and surpassing the performance standard set by its fixed-base forbears bodes extremely well for floating’s future. Complex challenges The fixed-foundation offshore wind industry is young but already contemplating16-MW turbines as tall as London’s Shard. Recall that 3-MW turbines were considered ambitious just five years ago. The floating wind industry, however, is still in its infancy. There’s not one technology proven to the point that it can be purchased off the shelf. A Carbon Trust study identified 30 different concepts in the market, mostly based on semi-submersible, tensionleg platform or SPAR structures, all of which, have been borrowed from oil and gas. However, many of these systems have yet to be tried, developed, and proven for floating applications. As firms start to move from concept to trials and even pilot arrays, they will need specialist expertise to de-risk and optimize their designs for a full project lifecycle. Some of these challenges will be technical, such as developing dynamic JUNE 2018

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power cables that can survive harsh offshore environments, or designing foundations and methods for mooring turbines to the seabed. Others will be regulatory, such as the U.S.’ Jones Act, which pushes up transport costs. Nor do obstacles end at construction: there will undoubtedly be operations and maintenance challenges, constraints around vessel availability, and difficulties in servicing floating arrays efficiently. Unlocking complexity These challenges are not insurmountable. With the right experience and support, floating offshore wind can become an economic reality. Projections from the U.S. Department of Energy

By using deeper waters, floating offshore wind farms also make projects feasible in remote locations that offer fore powerful and reliable winds. suggest that floating foundations will be costcompetitive with fixed wind by the mid-2020s, while the International Renewable Energy Agency predicts that the first large-scale floating wind farms could be installed by 2025. The industry will start to see concepts that draw on existing capabilities, such as concrete structures that can be built, floated out, and moored. We’ll also start seeing systems that are scalable and efficient, using off-the-shelf turbine towers, similar to the IKEA-style model we saw for onshore wind. Success will come down to unlocking complexity, and one of the surest ways to boost its chances is to rely on proven expertise. But how do you find that experience in a fledgling sector? One option is to look sideways. Decades of accumulated relevant expertise in the oil and gas sector date back to the North Sea’s first floating production systems in the 1970s. Engineers there know the environment and have cracked the main engineering challenges. They have the experience to navigate the complex marine environment.



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Offshore wind industrydeeper water HEADING OUT TO

Other experts are working with governments and investors to reduce project costs. On the other side of the energy coin, there is a burgeoning pool of expertise in renewable projects, specifically wind. Developers who can collate this expertise, either in-house or through partnerships, will be best placed to succeed. The WorleyParsons Group, for example, has years of experience across the conventional power and renewable energy sectors and is working with governments and companies around the world on onshore and offshore wind projects. The company is advising one partner on how floating wind can augment the power supply to an oil and gas production facility. Each project presents different challenges and opportunities, but one consistent driver is the growth in the renewable market supported by the momentum of the global energy transition. 58


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Floating offshore wind offers huge global green-energy potential with projects getting bigger and more multifaceted. But these complex, deep offshore environments will require reliable and tested technology, a strong onshore infrastructure, and the right expertise to ensure success. By partnering with companies already in this space, the sector can unlock that complexity and begin to realize its potential.

A consortium of companies in Japan have formed Fukushima Forward to develop that country’s floating wind farm industry. A few of its concepts are here

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E Q U I PME N T Anti-vibration gloves Ergodyne | The long-term effects of repetitive hand and arm movements or vibration from recurrent use of impact tools may lead to disabling and permanent damage. To protect wind techs and other workers against repetitive strain injuries, Ergodyne has revamped its Anti-Vibration Series of gloves. For example, its ProFlex 9012 Anti-Vibration Gloves + Wrist Support now offer full-length AVC palm padding to reduce vibration and built-in wrist support to help relieve the discomfort of repetitive tasks. The gloves protect against vibration from grinding, sanding, drilling, jackhammering, chainsaw operation, and use of torque, impact, or shock tools and equipment. The ProFlex Anti-Vibration Gloves are ANSI S2.73-2014 and ISO 10819:2013-certified.

Easy-to-handle cable General Cable |

High-impact, high-torque wrench

The EmPowr CL Edge medium-voltage (MV) cable from General

RAD Torque Systems

weight, making it easy to handle. EmPowr CL Edge is also

Cable includes a compact phase conductor and flat strap neutral conductor, two non-hygroscopic rip cords, and crosslinked polyethylene jacketing. The cable delivers up to 20% longer reel lengths, and up to 10% reduction in diameter and UL rated MV-105, letting users operate the cable at higher temperatures without loss of reliability. It has an all-black, semi-

The new B-RAD Select 5000 wrench from

conductive polyethylene coating.

RAD Torque Systems weighs only 19 lbs but can torque bolts to 5,000 foot-pounds. It also features a brushless motor, which gives users more torque cycles per battery charge as well as faster speeds. The wrench can do an automatic back off, meaning it removes pressure from the reaction arm after completing a torque cycle. The B-RAD Select 5000 should be available for purchase by the end of summer.

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E Q UIPMEN T Compact vibration switch Hansford Sensors | Hansford Sensors offers a new compact vibration switch to protect machinery against unexpected shutdown and repair costs. The HS-429 automatically trips in the event of excessive vibration levels, shutting down critical systems before damage occurs. One of the most compact vibration switches on the market, the HS-429 enables the continuous monitoring and protection of assets in tight spaces. It transmits a 4 to 20mA signal and features an adjustable false trigger delay of up to one minute to prevent error trips. The switch is overload-protected to a maximum shock of 100g.

Flexible grip connector 3M Fall Protection | A fall-protection connector that can be tied off in multiple directions is here, thanks to the DBI-SALA Comfort Grip Connector from 3M Fall Protection. The Comfort Grip

Surge suppression upgrade Raycap |

Connector opens and closes easily, and comes with a hand guard so knuckles are protected while making a connection. It is

Raycap recently upgraded its flagship Strikesorb 30

also certified to arrest a fall when loaded in multiple orientations.

surge suppression device to a Class I protective device.

When connected to a vertical or transverse application

The upgrade adds to the product’s Class II rating (per

(such as a pipe or ladder), the hand-guard pin shears in the

IEC 61643-11), and provides system operators flexibility

event of a fall to let the connector align with the direction

when installing the Strikesorb 30 at wind-farms that risk

of the fall and remain securely anchored. The Comfort Grip

lightning strikes. Strikesorb handles multiple lightning

Connector provides 5,000-lb tensile strength and up to 3,600

surges without failure or performance degradation,

pounds in transverse and gate strengths.

while offering continuous protection to other onsite wind turbines. The upgraded devices also have UL Type 2 Component Assembly certification and improved VPR levels.



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6/20/18 8:04 AM

E Q U I PME N T Critical surveillance solution Moxa |

Highperformance TDI bearing Timken

To construct flexible and cost-effective IP video-surveillance systems for protection of critical infrastructure, integrators often take advantage of Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches, especially in outdoor locations. The challenge lies in ensuring that PoE switches can provide high-power output and sufficient network bandwidth while remaining continuously available and

As modular turbines are built larger, conventional

highly reliable. To meet these challenges,

spherical mainshaft bearings (SRBs) have difficulty

Moxa offers its EDS-P506E-4PoE series

handling higher thrust loads. Timken Tapered Double

of PoE switches. Each of the new switch’s

Inner (TDI) roller mainshaft bearing offers a direct drop-

four ports deliver up to 60 W to power IP

in, more reliable solution. When a TDI bearing is used in

cameras that often have energy-draining

mainshaft applications, axial thrust is absorbed before

functions such as PTZ, illumination, heaters,

it reaches the gearbox components, reducing wear

wipers, and fans. Built-in Smart PoE

and extending gearbox component life. In addition,

Powered Device (PD) detection and plug-

using a preloaded TDI bearing helps reduce skidding

and-play integration eliminate the hassles

and smearing damage and minimizes edge loading

of installation for an effortless supply of

common with mainshaft SRBs. As a result, there is less

power to any PD.

wear and less debris, further extending bearing life.

Electric chain host gives techs a hand Ingersoll Rand | To lighten the labor of lifting heavy loads up to nacelles, IR introduced the 250-kg hoist. Like other hoists in the series (photo), the more recent version sports a standard eyebolt suspension with motorized and plain trolleys. Unlike rigid suspensions, the eyebolt suspension lets the hoist pivot and align itself to the direction of load pull, reducing stress and wear. (Hook suspension can be substituted.) An overload clutch can be adjusted from the front of the hoist and does not affect brake performance. The overload clutch is factory set to limit Quantum from lifting loads in excess of 150% of rated hoisting capacity. JUNE 2018

WPE_Equipment World_6-18_Vs3.indd 61



6/20/18 8:04 AM

E Q UIPMEN T Stay connected Kymeta | Kymeta Corporation’s mTenna antenna, a new mobile satellite communications technology distributed by FMC GlobalSat for wind farms and other often-remote locations, offers flexibility of integration and installation for a wide range of high-data-rate applications. The antenna modules feature metamaterials-based holographic beam forming and tracking (no moving parts) and Tx/Rx on one single aperture, and they are lightweight. This easy-to-use, reliable mobile communications system enables global access to satellites, anywhere, anytime.

Obstruction lighting Flash Technologies | Flash Technologies’ OL800 solar LED is an integrated lighting device with a high-efficiency LED light source, solar panels, and battery. The OL800 series meets requirements for Federal Aviation Administration L-810 and the International Civil Aviation Organization low-intensity Type A and Type B obstruction lighting. The obstruction lighting is low

Encoders for extreme environments POSITAL |

maintenance and easy to install,


making it an ideal choice for

POSITAL’s heavy-duty IXARC incremental and

temporary installations such as

absolute rotary encoders are built to withstand tough

for meteorological towers and

environmental conditions. These sensors feature

during wind-farm construction.

impact-resistant Type 316L stainless-steel or aluminum

The OL800 is made of

housings with seals rated to IP67 and bearings that can

premium-grade, UV-resistant

stand up to high mechanical shaft loads (up to 250 N

polycarbonate lens and head

axial, 350 N radial). They also have the ability to stand

with a durable powder coated

up to high shock and vibration impact (200 g and 20 g,

aluminum chassis and vented

respectively). A special shaft-lock mechanism protects

battery compartment. It is also

the internal encoder components from extreme thrust

waterproof and includes a bird

loads on the shaft. The operating temperature range


for the IXARC encoders is -40 to 80° C (-40 to 176° F).


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AWEA............................................................................................37 Aztec Bolting................................................... cover/corner, 25 Castrol...........................................................................................5 Dexmet Corporation..................................................................9 HYDAC Technology Corporation........................................IFC Mersen........................................................................................BC Norbar Torque Tools................................................................. 11 Phoenix Contact..................................................................... IBC WindEnergy Hamburg..............................................................27


SALES Jim Powers 312.925.7793 @jpowers_media

Neel Gleason 312.882.9867 @wtwh_ngleason

Garrett Cona 213.219.5663 @wtwh_gcona

Tom Lazar 408.701.7944 @wtwh_Tom

Michelle Flando 440.381.9110 @mflando

Tamara Phillips 216.386.0953




Follow the whole team on twitter @Windpower_Eng

VP of Sales Mike Emich 508.446.1823 @wtwh_memich

EVP Marshall Matheson 805.895.3609 @mmatheson

Managing Director Scott McCafferty 310.279.3844 @SMMcCafferty

Associate Publisher Courtney Seel 440.523.1685 @wtwh_CSeel



JUNE 2018

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6/19/18 3:01 PM

Dreaming of a 50-MW wind turbine OFFSHORE WIND IS ADVANCING BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS. But with the evolution of smarter turbines, as well as the ability to generate more power from these turbines, comes new challenges. Larger-capacity turbines need longer blades, but how is it possible to alleviate the risk of these massive blades striking their towers? And as turbines move offshore and are built larger to take advantage of greater wind speeds, how can engineers equip these massive structures to withstand the harshest environments? A team of U.S. wind-power engineers is working to answer these – and many other – questions as they study the potential that a 50-MW offshore wind turbine might offer. The team members come from five universities – University of Virginia, Colorado School of Mines, University of Colorado, University of Texas at Dallas, and University of Illinois – as well as the National Renewable Energy Lab’s National Wind Technology Center and are awaiting the first testing phase of the ARPA-E- funded project, which will take place this summer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado. This summer’s testing phase involves analyzing exactly how ultralight blades will behave (bend) on a downwind turbine. Plans are that the team’s Segmented Ultralight Morphing Rotor (SUMR) blade technology will eventually be used on blades that are 200-m long and operating with two on an offshore turbine. “The blades are coming into NREL, where the test facility is,” said Kathryn Johnson, associate professor of electrical engineering at Colorado School of Mines and a co-principal investigator of the 50-MW turbine project. “We’re taking blades off of an existing turbine and putting on these new blades and running a field campaign for several months.” The field test will be conducted on a scaled 600-kW demonstrator and will test only the ultralight portion of the SUMR technology. Later test phases will involve analyzing other components of the custom blades, as well as the logistics involved with building, mounting, and operating a 50-MW offshore turbine. The SUMR blade technology is largely based on the concept of folding blades that came from watching palm trees fold in reaction to high wind. The blades will morph and sway with the wind much like the trees that also align their trunks with hurricane-force winds. The decision to use two blades instead of three lessens material costs, and placing the rotor downwind lessens the risk of tower strikes. “We decided to turn the blades downwind because when you get structures as big as a 50-MW turbine, it is extremely costly and difficult to make the blades stiff and 6 4 WINDPOWER ENGINEERING & DEVELOPMENT

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not bend,” Johnson said. “The idea of a segmented rotor came in so it’s prealigned with the wind. If you have a blade upwind of a tower and bending with the wind, it will tend to lean toward the tower and there’s risk of it striking the tower. If you put it on the other side, it is less likely to tower-strike and lets you take more advantage of whole concept of ultralight weight. “When offshore, the turbines are further away from people making noise less of an issue. Then it is possible to operate the turbine a bit faster, which can be more efficient for a two-bladed turbine,” Johnson added. “Also, when offshore, you don’t worry much about the noise of the blade passing behind the tower.” Colorado School of Mines and the University of Colorado are charged with designing control systems that can accommodate the expected turbulence of these downwind blades. The goal of making the turbine 50 MW is part of a process that has involved incremental size increases since the start of the project, Johnson said. “Three years ago, we looked at what the right size would be for a turbine that we could feasibly design and would push state-of-the-art,” Johnson says. “We started with an existing 13-MW concept and flipped that around downwind and made it two-bladed, and then we started work on the hinging and other factors. Then one branch of research started to develop the scaling for the field demonstration, and the other part of the research – the newest part -- started looking at what it would take to scale up to 25 and 50 MW. We’re just getting started on that part, so generator considerations and mounting considerations are to come.” Stay tuned for more from this team as they develop plans for the 50-MW concept. If anyone can make that dream a reality, these researchers can. W The University of Virginia is leading a new effort to design extreme-scale windturbine blades that are 200-m long. Such blades can power 50-MW wind turbines that are 10 times more powerful than current wind turbines and taller than the Eiffel Tower, researchers say. The image conveys the relative sizes of several turbines being designed for this project: the gravo-aero-elastically scaled field demonstrator or SUMR-D turbine, the 13-MW SUMR-13, and the 50-MW SUMR50. The project is funded by the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E.

JUNE 2018

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Crédits Photos : Shutterstock




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Windpower Engineering & Development - JUNE 2018  

Windpower, conservationists making wind farms safer for wildlife; 3 reasons to attend the global wind summit in Hamburg, Working towards zer...

Windpower Engineering & Development - JUNE 2018  

Windpower, conservationists making wind farms safer for wildlife; 3 reasons to attend the global wind summit in Hamburg, Working towards zer...