Why Wind Turbine Maintenance Matters
Wind power is one of North America’s fastest-growing forms of renewable energy. This rise in usage is due to wind energy’s low-cost operations, land-space efficiency, and relatively low-maintenance equipment. However, like any machinery, following a regularly scheduled preventative maintenance plan will help your wind farm produce reliable offshore and onshore wind power while avoiding expensive downtime, unintended environmental consequences, and emergency repairs.
Unmaintained Wind Turbine Blades Cost Time, Money, and Safety
Wind farm maintenance is essential for any wind energy operation. Cleaning, inspection, lubrication, and repair of turbines will improve your wind farm's efficiency and output. Failure to maintain wind turbines can lead to:
- Critical breakdowns that damage property and injure people or wildlife
- Inability to produce electricity at total capacity, resulting in higher electrical costs for wind farms and consumers
- Build-up from insects and debris changing blade airfoil and introducing drag
- Lost profits due to downtime from completing emergency repairs
- Unbudgeted repairs that lead to unexpected, costly purchases
- And other unwanted outcomes.
Regular Wind Energy Maintenance Leads to Better Energy Production
A rigorous and regularly scheduled wind farm operations and maintenance (O&M) protocol can lead to more efficient and profitable energy production. Well-maintained wind turbines will deliver better performances over longer lifespans compared to dirty or worn turbine equipment.
What to Include in Wind Energy Maintenance Procedures
Always refer to your manufacturer's manual and OEM safety guidelines for your specific wind turbine maintenance requirements while designing a preventative maintenance program. Cleaning frequency and requirements will be influenced by your wind farm's location, weather conditions, and more, so be sure to consider your unique needs when selecting wind energy maintenance procedures. Possibilities for wind farm maintenance include:
- Using an eco-friendly industrial solvent replacement to clean dirt and debris from blades
- Checking wind turbine blades for cracks, corrosion, or other damage
- Inspecting the gearbox for wear and tear, replacing if needed
- Ensuring the generator has no mechanical or electrical issues impeding operations
- Cleaning the nacelle of all dust, debris, bugs, etc.
- Checking bearings and wiring for damage
- Clearing all vegetation from the rotor, rotor blades, and other components
Determining Wind Turbine O&M Costs
A major concern for wind farms is how much wind turbine maintenance costs. While it can be expensive to maintain your equipment, it is even more costly to complete unexpected and unbudgeted repairs caused by worn components, dirt, or debris. Considerations for calculating your wind turbine maintenance costs include:
- Size. Smaller wind turbine blades will require less maintenance and cost less than larger ones but produce less energy.
- Location. Wind farm environment and location will heavily impact maintenance costs. For example, onshore wind turbine maintenance near cities will cost less than offshore wind power O&M due to ease of access and environmental factors.
- Turbine Age. Newer equipment will require less maintenance and repairs compared to older models.
Choosing the Right Industrial Cleaners for Wind Turbine Maintenance
Wind turbine blade maintenance is traditionally completed using petroleum-based cleaners. Despite these solvents’ popularity, these wind farm maintenance products could be high VOC content, flammable, strong odors and have other hazardous impacts. The solution? Eco-friendly biodegradable wind energy cleaners, such as Polychem 36 and Polychem Zilch
- Non-flammable and fully biodegradable
- A concentrated solution that can be used from 5% concentration up to full strength
- Non-foaming with no HAPS
- Able to be used in pressure washers (up to 7500 PSI), dip tanks, ultrasonic units, or by hand
- And more!