Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Windy Days for Wind Turbines in WV

With the arrival of the cold front yesterday we have emerged from late summer doldrums and officially entered the windy season.

I ran out to Sheeps and Peeps Farm this AM to take some video with the digital camera. The Bergey Excel-S turbine was jammin! Some video highlights include Sampson (the dog) howling (he sounds like an owl), wind chimes, the turbine pegging its nameplate rating (10kW), and the utility meter "spinning" backward.

One note about the spinning backward; the new digital meters have a set of bars that emulate the pace and direction of electrons through the meter. These dial emulators are hard to see and are not nearly as exciting as the traditional dial-style meters.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

FPL Big Wind Gets a Transmission Change

Sarah and I drove out for a Sunday bike ride last week and were lucky enough to stumble upon a transmission change at the FPL Mountaineer Windfarm. The following pictures demonstrate the scale of these large utility machines. These are considered to be 1.5MW machines. This was the first wind farm in West Virginia. The machines are seven years old (they may have a 25-year service life)

This spot off of Rt. 219 is one that catches a lot of attention. Many visitors to the county hit their brakes when they make the turn and come face to face with one of these big turbines. The gawking caused the Division of Highways to install "No Parking" signs.

We did some gawking along with several other curious motorists. Most of this windfarm is off limits to the public. So the best spots to see the machines are from Rt. 219. The machine receiving the work is at the southernmost end of the farm and is easily the most accessible.

The clamp to take down the spinner was installed on Sunday, but the weather wasn't suitable for taking the assembly off of the machine. I made it back on Monday just after the spinner had been lowered to the ground.

Once the spinner was down the top of the nacelle had to be removed. I was hoping to hang out and watch the entire transmission swap, but things slowed down once the transmission was on the ground (maybe it was lunch time). Anyway, I had to shove off and get to work myself so I missed the reassembly of the turbine.

These wind machines are dramatically different from what I work with. Most small wind machines don't use a transmission and tend toward fewer moving parts. Fewer moving parts = fewer wear points and less maintenance.