Capital City Renewables (CCR) says it is the exclusive dealer and installer in North America for SME Wind, a European manufacturer of a line of lattice and tubular met towers ranging from 30 to 125-m tall for the wind-energy industry and that includes a steel lattice hub-height tilt-up tower. The Bulgarian-Romanian based company manufactures this product that was previously only available in Europe, Asia and North Africa.
What is particularly noteworthy about the hub height SME Consult towers in that they can be tilted up, enabling more accurate data collection for wind energy developers because the instruments are installed on the ground before the tower is erected. “We can install the sensors, document the installation and all the measurements, and even have other consultants certify the work- all on the ground,” says Dimtcho Linkov, president of SME Wind. “Once the tower goes up, it is fully equipped and working.”
Built-up lattice towers that require instruments to be installed once the tower is erected currently dominate the hub-height met tower market. Installing the anemometers and wind vanes accurately is of paramount importance for accurate data to determine the wind resource of a potential wind farm, yet this is a very difficult feat.
Kiril Lozanov, CEO of CCR sees the addition of SME products to be in line with the CCR’s value for safety, reliability, and innovation. “When we install instruments on the ground for a tilt-up tower, we can give our full attention to accuracy. This is not the case for built-up towers. When installers are hanging on a rope at a 100-meter up, safety is the first priority, and installing the instruments accurately is a second priority.”
Data quality is of paramount importance in the wind industry, to determine the financial viability of a potential wind farm. “As the wind energy industry matures, there is a greater demand for high quality data,” explains Lozanov. We are thrilled to work with SME Wind towers, because we can capture very accurate hub height data for our clients with these products for a very reasonable price. Tilt-up towers are faster and safer to install and save money.”
Lozanov estimates the towers are 20 to 30% less expensive than a comparable built-up steel lattice tower. In addition, built-up towers are routinely disposed of after just one use because it is costly and expensive to dissemble them. SME Consult towers however can be safely decommissioned and put to use at another location because properly lowering a tower doesn’t impact its structural integrity. In such cases, Lozanov estimates that cost savings can then reach 40% over comparable built-up steel lattice towers. The towers are designed for extreme environments and can withstand strong winds and ice. Lattice SME towers are also climbable, thus reducing maintenance costs while boosting data accuracy.
“When you’re climbing the tower, you’re only replacing one instrument at a time,” says Zachary Robinson, project manager for DNV KEMA in his experience with tilt-up tubular towers and built-up steel lattice towers. “Unlike when you need to lower the entire tower for maintenance, with a climbable tower you’re not disturbing the other instruments or doing anything that would take the whole tower off-line. The work can be done in a wider range of weather conditions and on a shorter schedule. If an instrument is out, someone can get out there very quickly to replace an instrument and it is taken care of. To mobilize a whole team of people to lower a tower is going to be a lot more costly and take more time.”
Although SME Wind towers are new to the North American market, they have been serving the European market for a decade. They have worked with many European wind energy developers and consultants, including Gamesa, Garrad Hassan, Iberdrola, Vestas, Deutsche Wind Energie Institute (DEWI), Deutsche WindGuard, and TUV SUD. Their towers have been installed in more than 1,000 sites across Europe.
Capital City Renewables