December 3, 2008 | Mark Paradies

Wind Farm Maintenance Way Behind

An article at Renewable Energy World.com says that 60% of US wind turbines may be behind in their maintenance.

The story says:

Frontier Pro Services has released the results of an informal survey of approximately 75 wind farm operators in the United States. Designed to assess the specific operation and maintenance service needs of wind energy operators, the survey reveals what could be serious threats to wind farms largely because of the industry-wide shortage of qualified turbine technicians, Frontier said.

According to the findings, many wind farm operations and maintenance teams are so resource constrained that they are barely able to keep up with the unscheduled maintenance repairs their wind turbines require to continue generating electricity. Even regular, scheduled preventative-maintenance like oil changes and gearbox lubrication (services that are often still under warranty) are falling behind as manufacturers face similar resource struggles related to the shortage of qualified technicians.

Gearbox failures account for the largest amount of downtime, maintenance, and lose of power production.  These costly failures can total 15-20% of the price of the turbine itself, making wind turbine and gearbox maintenance a high priority.

Beyond getting more maintenance technicians to perform required reactive, preventive, and predictive maintenance, wind farm managers must also systematically look at the root causes of failures.

If advanced root cause analysis is used to troubleshoot and fix equipment failures, near and long term improvements can improve wind farm reliability, reduce unscheduled maintenance and keep machines working 24/7.

An excellent system to apply to wind farm equipment failures is the combination of Equifactor® and TapRooT®. These systematic troubleshooting and root cause analysis tools have been used at industrial facilities around the world to successfully find and fix the root causes of equipment failures.

If you would like to learn more about these tools, attend one of the public 3-Day Equifactor®/TapRooT® Equipment Troubleshooting and Root Cause Failure Analysis Courses that are held around the world. For a list of upcoming courses, see:

http://www.taproot.com/courses.php?d=3

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