Due to the way wind turbines are constructed, as well as the remoteness of most sites, communication has traditionally been very challenging. Two companies are partnering to try to improve it. Telecommunications company Teo and national electrical engineering contractor Bergelectric Corp. have teamed up to offer communications services to wind farm operators. The companies plan to outfit each turbine with Internet access, as well as a telephone equipped with Enhanced 911 (E911) technology. Initial deployments are currently underway at two sites and already show potential of significantly improving safety and enhancing productivity for maintenance personnel.
Teo will provide the phones, industrial switches, a unified communications platform, and other equipment, while Bergelectric will design and install the fiber connections and equipment. Together, they will form a system that will provide voice and data communications to each turbine, as well as between disparate turbines.
Jason Hayes of Bergelectric explains that by equipping the top of each turbine with an E911-enabled phone and IP connection points for various devices such as computers, cameras, and sensors, the companies are not only increasing safety for maintenance personnel, but also enabling them to become more efficient . “They can now access electronic work instructions, contact technical support, access manuals and diagrams, and operate SCADA from the top of the turbine,” he says. “This eliminates the time-consuming up-and-down process or the need to utilize a radio-to-phone middleman.”
The first projects the team will tackle will be to deliver complete communications capabilities to the Harvest Wind Project and White Creek Wind I in Roosevelt, WA. Combined, the two wind energy projects have 132 Siemens 2.3-MW turbines.
Filed Under: O&M