With trends indicating that the production cost of renewable energy has continued to become cheaper over the last 10 years, it’s no surprise that the sector has gained all the hype it deserves. Wind and solar energy has not only become more affordable, but it also offers the appeal to businesses who want to leverage their reputation of being conscious of their social and environmental responsibility. Here are a few of the top renewable energy conferences in the US that should be making it onto your calendar.
Renewable Energy Markets/REM
Considered to be one of the most important annual forums to discuss the usage of renewable electricity from state-wide to households, this conference boasts attendance from leaders of federal and state governments, to corporate purchasers and international marketers.
Smart Energy Summit
With topics ranging between “Smart Home” to “Impacting Consumer Behavior”, and “Adoption and Innovative Business Models”, the scope of this summit attracts thousands of attendees from various renewable energy sectors.
KPMG Global Energy Conference
If you’re looking to attend a conference that will share new insights, tools and strategies to help confront challenges in the industry, join thousands of delegates from leading energy companies to attend this one.
The premier conference for wind energy brings hundreds of financiers to investors together each year. This is the perfect platform to network and expand your knowledge on how to improve your renewable energy projects.
North America Smart Energy Week
This is one of the largest forums for renewable energy professionals in North America, where sector leaders get to network, share knowledge, and discuss the industry over four days.
ANEMOI offers an extensive maintenance checklist for any and all of your commercial wind farm needs. If you would like to discuss gearbox oil changes, scheduled maintenance, manpower augmentation, or retrofits, get in touch with our qualified team for help or advice on your renewable energy projects.
For the safety of our clients in the wind turbine industry, Annemoi is issuing an alert in regard to recently updated climb assist safety standards. In an industry where climbing safety is of central importance, it’s vital that we all follow the notices and standards issued by ANSI (American National Standards Institute). ANSI has raised a concern regarding the compatibility of climb assist systems and Climbing Ladder Fall Arrest Systems (CLFAS).
Compatibility concerns in wind turbine maintenance
ANSI stated its concerns as follows: “Because of possible compatibility concerns, the competent person should consult the manufacturer of both the climb assist system and CLFAS to determine if the systems are compatible. Considerations include connections to the user’s harness, spacing between systems on the climbing ladder, assist level setting, number of users and test records.”
In order for climb assist systems to comply with the ANSI recommendation, they need to go through a battery of tests in an ISO certified laboratory. These tests have to assess the system’s performance in all possible use and misuse scenarios. Unless these tests are all completed, workers who use the climb assist systems are at risk of injury or death due to potential incompatibilities.
Recommendations for wind turbine workers
For operators in the renewable energy industry, as well as their maintenance service providers, we recommend the following:
- Be aware of ANSI’s concern of the compatibility between climb assist systems and CLFASs.
- Insist upon compatibility testing for any systems you are considering using, or are already using.
- Avoid using climb assist systems if you are not sure of their compatibility, and wait until they have been tested.
Awareness of these concerns, as well as transparent communication between users and manufacturers, are key to bringing all climb assist systems in line with ANSI standards of compatibility and ensuring safety throughout our industry.
Anemoi provides a range of wind turbine services throughout the wind energy industry. Contact us for more information on wind turbine safety and maintenance.
In the wind turbine industry, as in most others, there are two related, but distinct forms of advanced maintenance that have taken the place of traditional, reactive repair methods. Predictive and prescriptive maintenance both help owners, operators and repair workers to stay on top of potential problems and keep turbines running with minimal downtime. What is the difference between the two, and which one is a better option for the wind energy industry?
Predictive maintenance uses condition-monitoring technology to continuously track the performance of wind turbines. As the monitoring tools follow the ongoing function of the turbines, they are able to detect possible faults and failures before they occur. Technicians are then alerted to the potential failure and are able to do preventive maintenance, replacements and repairs before the failure occurs. This helps to eliminate reactive maintenance, decrease downtime, and ensure continued running of turbines.
Whereas predictive maintenance spots potential failures, prescriptive maintenance goes one step further by not only predicting problems, but recommending actions to take that will prevent potential failure. So, the essential difference between the two methodologies is that, while predictive maintenance warns of impending breakdowns, leaving technicians to decide what action to take, prescriptive maintenance both predicts the problem and tells maintenance workers how to prevent it.
Anemoi makes use of both methodologies in our services to clients in the wind energy industry. These tools and technologies enable us to stay ahead of problems and keep the turbines running without interruption. Whether a turbine needs a gearbox oil change, a tower cleaning or yaw and pitch oil changes, or any of the range of services we provide, predictive and prescriptive maintenance routines help us to carry out these tasks timeously. Contact us for more information on our wind turbine maintenance services.
As the demand for wind energy increases, there is a need for wind turbines to be more efficient, long-lived and productive than ever. Accordingly, a great deal of research and development is being put into improving the drivetrain assemblies on turbines. The drivetrain assembly is vital to the proper functioning of a turbine – it is here that the torque of the blades is converted into electricity. We anticipate the introduction of innovative new solutions in this regard soon, considering the latest trends and opportunities that are currently presenting themselves.
Gearbox vs direct drive
The standard in drivetrain technology since wind turbines were first developed has consisted of a gearbox connecting the rotor and the generator. The problem with gearboxes is that they contain a lot of moving parts, which makes them prone to wear and tear – and costly to maintain. Technology developers, under the auspices of the Department of Energy, are now seeking out new, more efficient and economical alternatives. Most of the solutions currently being researched involve variations on direct-drive technology.
Direct drive generators can produce electricity at much lower speeds and they do not require gearboxes – and thus have fewer moving parts. Initial designs were still costly, however, as they required permanent magnets, which involve the use of expensive rare earth metals such as neodymium and dysprosium. They also needed heavier generators than geared turbines. There are now projects underway to develop high-efficiency direct-drive turbines that do not require magnets and rare earths. These are referred to as superconducting drivetrains. In addition to reducing the number of moving parts and creating a system that runs much more smoothly than gearbox-driven ones, most superconductor designs are also much lighter, which reduces costs and loads that towers are expected to carry.
Anemoi Energy Services is watching these research and development projects closely to see which design will emerge as the new standard. We expect significant improvements in the costs and operations of wind turbines. We assist the growing renewable energy industry by offering comprehensive, proactive wind turbine services. Contact us for more information on our wind turbine maintenance services.
The point of maintaining wind turbines is to both to improve their efficiency and extend their lifespan. How exactly do turbine maintenance technicians achieve this, so as to keep the production of wind energy from being interrupted?
Ongoing wind turbine maintenance
The key to efficiency and longevity in wind turbines is regular maintenance. Much like a car that needs to be serviced on an annual basis, wind turbines need to undergo a specific maintenance routine to keep them running smoothly and to ensure that its components are all in good condition.
Wind turbines are generally built for a 20-year lifespan. This projection is based on the condition that the turbines are properly maintained at regular intervals. With proper maintenance, carried out by a really good team, efficient operation can actually be extended for longer than two decades. In achieving this, maintenance teams focus on the upkeep of three main components: blades, gearboxes, shafts and electronics.
- Blades: the quality of turbine blades has improved dramatically over the past few years and – when it comes to newer models, at least – these parts are usually of least concern to maintenance crews, with failure being quite rare.
- Main shafts: these large structures have very few issues in the early part of their lives. However, after several years of service, they may start to experience failures in their main bearings. These are usually quite inexpensive to repair but can lead to considerable downtime while the maintenance work is being done.
- Gearboxes: these can be the most temperamental and costly components of wind turbines. It’s important to use predictive or prescriptive maintenance methods to identify failures before they happen. In many cases, gearboxes won’t hold up for the entire lifespan of the turbine and will need to be replaced. However, regular maintenance, including oil changes, can help to extend the lives of gearboxes for as long as possible.
An annual maintenance plan carried out by Anemoi technicians will ensure that wind turbines reach and exceed their lifespans, while running at maximum efficiency – a vital requirement for the renewable energy industry. Contact Anemoi for more information.
One of the more challenging things about operating and maintaining wind turbines is having to work your schedule around the weather. It’s a particular problem when there is repair work that desperately needs to be done on the blades, but technicians can’t access them because of rain or icy conditions. A new development from turbine blade experts Bladefence looks set to solve this problem.
Simply called Bladefender, the solution is a covered, environmentally-controlled habitat that attaches to the basket of the technician’s skylift. It allows full access to the blades while giving the technicians shelter.
This isn’t simply a question of keeping the technicians warm and dry. It also helps the repair process itself. The materials that are commonly used to repair blades often don’t work at extreme temperatures. Epoxy resins, for example, will not set at temperatures below 15°C or above 25°C, or at humidity levels above 70%. The Bladefender enables technicians to control the environment around the blade to ensure that the repair work gets done properly and timeously.
With Bladefender, blade repairs can be done with minimal weather waiting hours and turbines can be brought back online more quickly. This reduction in downtime has the potential to create significant reductions in operations costs and keep turbines running all year round. It’s the kind of innovation that can be of enormous benefit to smooth running of the wind energy industry.
Wind energy can be costly and downtime is best avoided. With regularly scheduled maintenance – which can now take place at any time of year – carried out by a dedicated service partner, you can reduce costs and extend the lives of your turbines.
Anemoi Energy Services assists the growing renewable energy industry by offering comprehensive wind turbine services. Contact us for more information on our wind turbine maintenance services.
Offshore wind turbines may become the primary source of renewable energy for gulf-bordering states. Studies conducted by the NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) indicate that wind energy may be the best renewable energy source for Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
Prospects of wind turbines: Analyzing offshore renewable energy sources
Researchers from the NREL were tasked with investigating technologies that could produce renewable energy. The studied options include offshore wind, wave, tidal, ocean current, ocean-based solar, and ocean thermal technologies. The prospect that showed the best potential is offshore wind because it is suitable for the scale of development required to power Gulf states. It is also the source that offers the most significant resource potential at around 508 gigawatts.
Economic feasibility of offshore wind technologies
In a second study by the NREL, researchers were tasked with determining the economic feasibility of developing offshore wind plants in Gulf states. The study showed that offshore wind was a feasible technology and identified six specific locations that were highly suitable for this type of development. Three locations, namely Port Isabel, Port Arthur, and Pensacola, were selected for further investigation to create a more detailed cost analysis for future offshore wind sites. Projected costs from the study show that some of these locations may reach the threshold of economic viability within the next ten years.
The study also provided positive numbers regarding the potential of job creation and gross domestic production that would be supported through construction as well as ongoing operations and maintenance. One of the offshore wind plants could account for 4470 construction jobs and over 150 permanent positions and could contribute $445 million in GDP during construction that would generate over $14 million in GDP annually.
NREL researcher and lead author Walt Musial has said that the oil and gas industries in the Gulf could capitalize on new energy opportunities by leveraging their ocean-based capabilities to expand business.
The Anemoi Energy Services team has serviced wind farms all over the United States, from coast to coast. We welcome the findings of the studies conducted by the NREL, and we’re proud to be a trusted name in the wind power industry. Our wind turbine maintenance technicians offer comprehensive wind turbine services from gearbox oil changes to scheduled maintenance and other services. We earned our stellar reputation by maintaining a safety record of zero incidents or environmental issues on any of our job sites.
For more information on wind turbines and our wind turbine services, contact us today.
Big data is playing a significant role in optimizing and regulating the wind energy industry, along with the broader renewable energy sector in general. Here is a breakdown of why big data is becoming such a game-changer.
What is big data?
Big data refers to enormous data sets that can be carefully analyzed using advanced technology to reveal various trends and patterns. These trends and patterns can then be used to tailor operations to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and optimize operations.
How is big data analysis benefiting the wind energy industry?
The main way that big data analysis is set to benefit the wind energy industry is by analyzing weather patterns through historical data. Owners of wind farms obviously rely on wind to generate energy. The more wind there is, the more power can be generated. Therefore, having a good general idea of when the wind will be readily available can help to increase wind energy production dramatically, all the while reducing production costs.
With the help of weather analysis through big data, wind farms will not need to spend money on improving wind farm infrastructure to increase wind energy production. This increase in production will be possible through merely optimizing how they use their already-existing wind turbines.
Besides uncovering weather patterns, it is predicted that big data will also be incorporated into streamlining wind turbine maintenance. In a few years’ time, it could work by analyzing when various aspects of maintenance should take place to maximize the lifespan and efficiency of the turbine and its parts. The data is also likely to be able to predict potential premature failures based on various conditions, making it possible for wind farm owners to take preventative action.
Here at Anemoi Energy Services, we specialize in wind turbine services and maintenance and play a part in ensuring the advancement and security of the wind energy industry. For more information about our areas of expertise, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
According to a study by DeLoitte, wind turbine operators are set for significant growth over the next few years as governments increase their investments in renewable energy. As business improves for the wind energy industry, the need for efficient maintenance practices and cost-saving devices will become more and more pressing.
Predictive maintenance routines are among the most forward-looking solutions in this regard. Wind farm operators would be doing themselves a favor by leveraging them as much as possible as they seek to improve efficiency. This is especially the case when you consider the sheer scale of wind farms. A single wind farm can have thousands of turbines. The internet of things (IoT) – of which predictive maintenance tools are an extension – is really the only way that individual turbines can be monitored and maintained.
What is predictive maintenance?
Predictive maintenance uses monitoring tools to track a wind turbine’s performance and condition and predict possible failures before they arise. This practice helps operators keep their turbines running at their peak consistently, as they can eliminate faults before they have a significant effect on output. This reorients maintenance from being calendar-based – where maintenance is carried out in specific time-frames – to condition-based, where maintenance work is done in response to feedback from the monitoring tools.
What are the benefits of predictive maintenance?
By gaining the ability to continually monitor wind turbines, operators can tackle wear and tear and mechanical breakdown proactively and thus reduce degradation and prevent unplanned downtime. This will also help to extend the lifespan of turbines and optimize their efficiency. This all has a favorable effect on operation and maintenance costs. Less downtime and the prevention of large-scale repair and replacement work, wind farm operators can keep costs at manageable, predictable levels.
To leverage predictive maintenance fully, you need the help of wind turbine service professionals. Contact Anemoi Energy Services for more information on our wind turbine maintenance services.
There is evidence that consistent wind turbine maintenance and modern manufacturing practices can help prevent wind turbine bearing failures. However, sometimes, despite regular maintenance and inspections, these failures still manage to take place and often long before the turbines are anywhere near their calculated lifespan. The question is, why? What causes them? And what can be done about it? We investigate below.
What causes wind turbine bearing failures?
Although it is not the only potential culprit behind bearing failures in wind turbines, the primary cause of these failures is overloading. However, did you know that underloading can also have negative effects on the bearings over time? When bearings are underloaded, they are especially vulnerable to surface damage in the event of sudden gusts of wind, grid faults, or braking. The destruction that takes place to the surface of the bearings can accelerate wear and tear significantly, ultimately leading to premature failure.
Other potential causes of wind turbine bearing failures include non-torque load sharing, insufficient maintenance, irregular inspections and changes of gearbox oil, axial cracks forming on the bearings, and carrier bearing clearance.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), over three-quarters of all wind turbine gearbox failures occur as a direct result of bearing failures.
How to prevent wind turbine bearing failures
It is recommended for one to invest in bearings made of premium steel, and to consider buying bearings that come with compressive residual stresses brought about by the previous loading. There are renewable energy experts who strongly believe that these types of bearings can effectively counteract the imposed higher stresses contributing to rolling contact fatigue, another common cause of failure.
Also, ensure that you turn to a professional to perform wind turbine maintenance at least once every year. Here at Anemoi Energy Services, we specialize in wind turbine services and maintenance and have the know-how necessary to keep your turbine bearings and gearboxes in tip-top condition.
Contact us today for more information.