Community Wind Handbook/Plan for Maintenance

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WIND ENERGY STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT & OUTREACHCommunity Wind Handbook

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Community Wind Handbook


Plan for Maintenance

Although small wind turbines are sturdy machines, turbine parts experience wear and require annual maintenance. It is important to develop a schedule to ensure that your turbine is operating properly. In a direct-drive machine, alternator bearings and yaw bearings may need to be replaced over time. If you choose a turbine with a gearbox, the lubricant will degrade over time and will need to be changed.[1]. Bolts and electrical connections should be checked and tightened if necessary. The machines should be checked for corrosion and the guy wires for proper tension. In addition, you should check for and replace any worn leading edge tape on the blades, if appropriate. After 10 years, the blades or bearings may need to be replaced, but with proper installation and maintenance, the machine should last 20 years or longer.

Roy Rakobitsch of Windsine Inc., performs maintenance on a 120-foot tower in East Hampton, New York. Photo from Roy Rakobitsch, Windsine Inc.

Every turbine should include an owner's manual or operations manual to provide the consumer with scheduled and unscheduled maintenance information as well as other unique product information. Scheduled maintenance guidelines should be followed. If you do not have the expertise to maintain the machine, ask whether your installer provides a service and maintenance program.[2]

Typical maintenance issues for a small community wind system include the proximity of someone who is qualified to work on your turbine model, the costs associated with repairs, and allowing minor issues to become major.

Some experts recommend that an owner set aside 1% of the installed cost of the wind system on an annual basis for operations & maintenance expenses over the life of the system.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1  "Sagrillo, M. Wind System Operation and Maintenance Costs"
  2.  "U.S. Department of Energy. Small Wind Guidebook: Where Can I Find Installation and Maintenance Support?"