2011 Report on Operations and Maintenance
Maintaining a wind plant is a complex undertaking. A single wind turbine may have more than 10,000 mechanical and electrical parts, and a typical wind project is located far from the manufacturer’s warehouse or any emergency repair services. As one maintenance solution, utilities that own wind projects typically buy extended warranties from the turbine manufacturers to cover parts and labor for both scheduled maintenance and repairs. Yet new alternatives for utility wind project operations and maintenance (O&M) have been emerging. Many utilities that have wind generation are now considering the pros and cons of in-house maintenance programs, and some, such as California’s Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), have moved ahead to implement in-house programs.
To support utilities in developing O&M strategies, a wind power O&M guidebook was produced in 2008 by the U.S DOE Wind and Water Power Technologies Program, Wind Powering America Initiative, and Western Area Power Administration. Entitled “Establishing an In-house Wind Maintenance Program”, it was produced with support from the sponsors and enXco, LADWP, the Nebraska Public Power Association (NPPA), Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), and Sandia National Laboratory (SNL). In the short time since that guidebook was published, the wind energy industry has undergone significant evolution. Installed US wind capacity has more than doubled, exceeding 40 GW. With this rapid growth, utilities can access improved turbine products and services, and apply new O&M practices.
An updated guidebook was produced in 2010-2011 and published in November 2011 that provides more updated and comprehensive information to electric utilities who own and operate wind turbines and want to establish an in-house maintenance program of their turbine assets. This updated guidebook, supported by the AWEA Utility Working Group and funded by the Wind Powering America Initiative through Western Area Power Administration, addresses current needs. It includes significant contributions from utilities and other stakeholders around the country, representing all perspectives and regardless of whether or not they own wind turbines or projects. These stakeholders include Alliant Energy, Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin), CPS Energy, Energy Northwest (EN), enXco services, LADWP, Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E), Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), Southern California Edison (SCE), and Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Association (SMMPA).