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Safety is more than just following the rules. As One Energy CEO Jereme Kent explains, many construction companies experience common safety issues in the field because “it’s the system that’s broken.”
In today’s Safety Minute, Jereme introduces a new series exploring common safety problems in wind energy construction. At One Energy, we believe the first line of safety is engineering controls – and we’ll share how One Energy has put this belief into practice, to address known safety risks before employees head to the field.
In future episodes, we’ll take a deeper dive into the most common safety issues, sharing One Energy’s approach to fixing systems that has failed field teams in the past. Together, we can make the field – and the wind industry – safer from the ground up.
Watch the video below, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss a minute.
Attaching the rotor (hub + three blades) to the generator during wind turbine construction involves special crane rigging that allows the assembly to be lifted and guided mid-air.
Throughout this process, which we call the rotor fly, the rotor pivots mid-air and is raised up and over the top of the tower, where it will then be aligned with the generator and bolted into place.
As you can see in this photo, one blade is behind the tower, on the opposite side of the generator, where the rotor will eventually attach. Getting it to the correct side is where special maneuvering comes into play – as the rotor is lifted above the whole structure, shifted forward, and lowered to the proper height. Taglines work with the crane and tower crew to align the rotor and control the load during the pick.
At this point, it’s ready to be “caught” or guided into place with the help of technicians up-tower, who will complete the bolting. The use of alignment pins also helps ensure the rotor is installed correctly and safely.
This carefully coordinated procedure marks the final step of wind turbine erection!
In this week’s Wind Study, you get to play the role of wind turbine manufacturer!
When planning a Wind for Industry project, One Energy tells the customer how much of their facility’s power will likely be produced by the wind turbines we install at their location. To do this, we use what’s called the turbine power curve. Power curves are governed by the design of the turbine and are provided by its manufacturer.
As the manufacturer of this fictional wind turbine, we need YOU to plot the power curve on the graph provided in today’s homework. Then use the accompanying equation to calculate the power produced at a given wind speed.
And check back Friday to download the answers and see if you’re cut out to manufacture wind turbines!
In today’s Wind Energy Fact, find out how many bolts it takes to build a 1.5 MW utility-scale wind turbine!
At One Energy, we connect the base section of the tower to the foundation using 120 anchor bolts.
The next three tower sections (lower mid, upper mid, and top) are stacked on top of the base, connected by 358 bolts in total.
After the tower is completely constructed, we install the nacelle using 76 more bolts.
The generator then requires 48 bolts to connect to the nacelle.
Before flying the rotor, we build it on the ground using 54 bolts on each of the three blades, connecting them to the hub – a total of 162 bolts.
Finally, when the rotor is flown, the entire assembly is attached to the generator using 48 bolts.
Altogether, it takes a total of 812 bolts to build a 1.5 MW wind turbine!
This week, we asked for your help in determining a Wind for Industry project’s estimated energy production.
After having calculated the Net AEP (Annual Energy Production) by considering a project’s wake loss earlier this month (Wind Study Question 2), we asked you on Monday to use P-Values and scale factors to help us account for other potential losses and uncertainties, like turbine downtime due to maintenance or grid issues.
When I tell people I have a master’s degree in meteorology, the initial conversation goes one of two ways: they tell me they love the movie Twister and wanted to be a meteorologist when they were a kid, or they ask me what it’s like to get to be wrong half the time and still get paid. Good joke buddy, I’ve never heard that one before.
I usually get the tongue-in-cheek jokes from those people who don’t understand the concept of weather forecasting and the main priorities of a meteorologist. A local TV meteorologist has a large viewing area to forecast for, sometimes with millions of people that count on that information. It would be impossible for them to create a custom spot forecast for every single viewer. The most important responsibility any meteorologist has is to ensure the safety of our citizens. Shoveling two less inches of snow is not as imperative as alerting an emergency manager of impending snowfall so they are able to deploy the salt trucks and snowplows so roadway travel can continue safely. Whether it’s forecasting snowfall, high winds, tornadoes, or hurricanes, meteorologists are constantly looking for indicators that could mean potential for loss of life. Forecasts are getting better every day. Meteorologists are far better today at predicting the 10-day forecast than they were 60 years ago, and 60 years from now they’ll be even better. Today, the 5-day forecast can predict the weather accurately upwards of 90% of the time.
In just a few days it will be February 2nd, otherwise known in the United States as Groundhog Day. If you aren’t familiar with this day, it is when a large number of grown adults in tuxedos and top hats gather in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to obtain the weather forecast for the next 6 weeks from a well-fed groundhog named Phil. If Phil emerges from his burrow and sees his shadow with clear skies overhead, it means he has forecasted 6 more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, then a celebration commences, because he has forecasted an early spring.
Don’t get me wrong, I love this tradition. For those of us in the Midwest who must live through cold, cloudy winters, it offers the slightest bit of hope (even if it is coming from a groundhog). I do however find it wildly fascinating the number of people in this country who take the word of a rodent over the word of their highly educated local meteorologist. For the record, Phil’s accuracy record is an abysmal 36%, less than that of flipping a coin.
Now, while I may not practice as a weather forecaster, I do use my atmospheric science background extensively to forecast the long-term wind resource for One Energy’s Wind for Industry projects. Project financials rest on my team’s ability to correctly predict the lifetime energy production of our wind turbines, which is directly related to the wind and large-scale weather patterns. We take this responsibility seriously and take great pride in our accuracy. But yes, sometimes, we are slightly wrong. That is important to admit. Predicting the future is hard. Analyzing how wrong we were, and for what reasons, allows us to make our models that much better. That’s how all science should work – continuously validating and updating facts and models with the newest information and always improving upon previous hypotheses and methods.
Science and meteorology are always evolving, and weather forecasts continue to improve tremendously over time. And traditions like Groundhog Day continue to capture the hearts of communities. I just long for the day when meteorologists’ forecasts are anticipated and admired as much as Phil’s is (…with or without the top hats).
Anyways, here’s hoping Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow stays home on Tuesday!
Jessica Grosso is the Head of Project Planning and Technology at One Energy.
Check out our meteorological bells and whistles! Or should we say cups and sensors? Today’s edition of Wind Views shows off our various wind instrumentation!
On last week’s episode of Science Shorts (watch the video here!), you learned about the different ways One Energy collects weather and climate data. One structure Ben explained was our meteorological tower (or MET Pole), and the various instrumentation it contains.
These photos show different perspectives of the MET Pole located at the North Findlay Wind Campus: in construction, completed, and close-up.
In the first photo, zoom in to see a technician installing the instrumentation at the top of the MET Pole, which is 30 meters high. The second photo shows what the completed pole looks like when viewed from the ground. The final close-up view was taken using a drone, to highlight the cup and sonic anemometers, which collect wind speed and direction data.
Stay tuned for upcoming Science Shorts, where we’ll be taking a deep dive into this instrumentation and more! (To make sure you don’t miss this upcoming feature, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!)
In an interview with CleanTechnica‘s Tina Casey, One Energy CEO Jereme Kent discusses the obstacles facing distributed wind (especially in Ohio) and how One Energy is able to “keep the turbines coming.”
For this week’s Wind Study, we’re asking you to take the next step in determining a Wind for Industry project’s estimated energy production!
Earlier this month, you calculated the Net AEP (Annual Energy Production) by considering a project’s wake loss. Now, help us account for other potential losses and uncertainties, like downtime due to maintenance or grid issues. You’ll use P-Values and scale factors to solve these problems.
Download the homework questions here, and be sure to check back Friday for the answers!
On Monday, we asked you to apply what you learned from a previous episode of our Science Shorts to one of our Wind for Industry projects in order to answer this week’s Wind Study question.
Today, let’s find out if you were able to calculate the energy (the ability to do work) and power (the rate at which work is done) produced by our project!