An article in the latest publication of American Cranes & Transport Magazine features a discussion on the evolution of the Wind Energy industry in America and the strong future for wind farm maintenance work now that all of those turbines are coming of age. AC&T editor, D. Ann Shiffler interviewed prominent crane company executives who are heavily involved in wind farm maintenance to gain their perspective. One of those executives was David Cowley, President of BOSS Crane & Rigging.
“Wind turbine maintenance is good business for crane and transport companies that are working at wind farms coast-to-coast providing fixes at wind farms that have been operating from one to 30 years. It’s a matter of what goes up, must come down at some point. Nacelles and blades, and even the towers themselves, can sustain damage in a range of ways.”
HOW DO YOU CHARACTERIZE THE MARKET FOR WIND FARM MAINTENANCE?
COWLEY: It’s a steady business but depends a lot on weather and peak times when more power is needed, during the winter and storms. Our wind maintenance business has been strong. Once these towers are up, they are going to need to be repaired.
WHAT ARE TYPICAL TASKS THAT YOUR COMPANY PERFORMS IN THE REALM OF WIND FARM MAINTENANCE?
COWLEY: We are doing rotor drops, replacing gear boxes and generators, nacelles and damaged blades. There are times when we will replace older components with a higher-powered nacelle and higher performance blades.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF PERFORMING WIND FARM MAINTENANCE?
COWLEY: The biggest challenge is the wind itself. And it’s the reason for the wind farms. Most of these lifts are done in the 270 to 300-foot range, about 80 meters, so there are wind cutoff speeds that you can safely operate a crane. Wind, site conditions, weather, these are the most challenging issues.
WHAT TYPES OF CRANES DOES YOUR COMPANY TYPICALLY USE IN THESE MAINTENANCE PROJECTS?
COWLEY: On the crawler side we use from 100 to 600-ton crawlers on wind maintenance projects. On the hydraulic side, we use all terrains for these jobs too, in the 100 to 900-ton range. For us, the crawlers and ATs perform well. Whatever is needed, Boss has that crane in its fleet.
DO YOU PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION FOR THESE PROJECTS? IF SO, WHAT TYPES OF COMPONENTS DO YOU GENERALLY HAUL?
COWLEY: It varies. Right now, Boss is transporting a lot of nacelles. But we transport all the wind power components – nacelles, blades and even tower sections. Our parent company, Bennett International, currently has 200 plus trucks hauling wind components.
News Outlet: American Cranes & Transport
Date: April 1, 2019
Article Title: Ultimate fixer uppers
Link: Ultimate fixer uppers