2016 Renewable Energy Handbook


WINDPOWER Engineering and Development – Welcome to the Handbook

Editor’s welcome to the wind section…………. p.09
Wind Basics……………………………………………. p.10
Top wind stats and resource map………………. p.12
Components of a wind turbine………………….. p.16

Wind articles

Bearings……………………………………………………p.18
Blades………………………………………………………p.21
Bolting……………………………………………………..p.24
Cables………………………………………………………p.27
Composites……………………………………………….p.30
Gears & gearboxes…………………………………….p.32
Encoders…………………………………………………..p.34
Motors & drives…………………………………………p.37
Hydraulics…………………………………………………p.38
Slip rings…………………………………………………..p.42
Switchgear………………………………………………..p.46
Filters……………………………………………………….p.48
Lubricants…………………………………………………p.51
Site assessment…………………………………………p.54
Logistics & ports………………………………………..p.58
Fall protection……………………………………………p.60
Fire suppression…………………………………………p.64
Operations & maintenance………………………….p.66
Condition monitoring…………………………………p.70
Ad Index…………………………………………………p.174


It’s a great time to be in the wind industry.

“We are on the cusp of greatness,” said Tom Kiernan, American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) CEO in a recent press release. That was his summary of the current wind-power market. He followed his statement by recognizing noteworthy accomplishments, such as the construction of over $20 billion worth of wind farms and a near record of more than 13,250 MW of wind capacity currently under construction in the United States. An additional 4,100 MW is in advanced stages of development.

In fact, compared with the first three quarters of 2014, the U.S. has more than doubled the number of wind-powered megawatts installed at the same time in 2015, bringing the total wind capacity across the country to just over 69,470 MW. Expect that figure to rise before the year is out.

What’s made 2015 even greater is that wind energy pricing reached an all-time low. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), the cost offered to utility purchasers averaged under 2.5¢/kWh for negotiated 2014 wind contracts.

The cost-competitiveness of wind power has spurred project investments, created jobs, and prompted new research. What’s been termed a modern-day “wind rush” has made wind energy economically feasible in regions it never was before, such as the Southeastern U.S. Taller, more advanced wind turbines are accessing faster, steadier winds at higher altitudes to generate more electricity in more places.

Offshore wind is also getting closer to reality in U.S. waters. The industry surpassed several regulatory milestones so that 13 offshore projects are now in various stages of development. The Deepwater Wind project off the shores of Rhode Island has led the way with “steel in the water” and officially installed the first wind-farm foundation components. Commercial operation of the project is scheduled for late 2016.

The DOE maintained the country could install a total of 86,000 MW of offshore projects nationwide by 2050, which would drive demand for a new supply chain and help revitalize America’s port cities. The government also set some new goals for the entire wind industry with the release of its Wind Vision report. It provides a road map for how wind energy can supply the U.S. with 10% of the country’s electricity by 2020, 20% by 2030, and 35% by 2050.

Lofty goals, perhaps (wind currently generates 4.5% of America’s electricity) but with a banner year like 2015, those targets seem plausible — and even more so with the right government incentives. Kiernan maintained the industry is on the “cusp” of greatness but also cautioned about policy uncertainty, pointing to the production and investment tax credits that expired at the end of 2014.

Back in May 2015, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee voted by a strong majority for a tax-extenders package that would extend federal tax incentives for expanding renewable electricity generation. As of press time, Congress has yet to pass the Bill, but a tax extension could help ensure continued growth for the industry and push wind energy beyond the cusp of greatness well into the future.

With this Handbook, we also hope to help by providing you with the latest industry trends. Some things to watch for: As wind towers are getting taller, blades are becoming longer, more aerodynamic, and even modular in some cases, which is helping ease transportation michelle-froesechallenges. Condition monitoring systems are quickly becoming must-haves for effective wind-farm performance, and can pinpoint when a bearing will need replacing. Some even provide a detailed analysis of gearbox oil. Up-tower maintenance is also becoming the routine choice when possible to save on turbine downtime and O&M costs by keeping gearboxes in the nacelle during repairs.

A lot is changing in the wind industry with the aim of streamlining production, improving components, predicting and preventing failures, and optimizing turbine performance. It’s exciting to see what the future has in store.

Michelle Froese
Senior Editor
Windpower Engineering & Development
mfroese@wtwhmedia.com

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