Wind electricity production has seen significant growth in the last two decades. Thanks to advances in wind energy technology, the cost of generating electricity from the wind has reduced significantly. The U.S. government has also supported wind electricity production through incentives and other programs.
Wind turbines convert wind power to mechanical power and then to electricity. The wind rotates the propellers of a wind turbine, and then the propellers cause the rotor—which has a main shaft connected to a generator—to spin. Mechanical power flows into the generator, which converts the power into electricity.
How Do Wind Turbines Work?
Turbines often have two or three blades that function like helicopter rotor blades or airplane wings. When wind flows across these blades, it causes a decrease in air pressure on one side of the blade. This air pressure variation between the sides of the blades causes a lift and a drag. The lift has a stronger force than the drag, causing the rotor to spin. The rotor can have a shaft, gearbox, or a direct drive turbine connecting to the generator that produces AC electricity. Thus, the turbine system converts aerodynamic force into electricity.
Where Does the Wind Turbine-Generated Electricity Go?
Depending on the turbine’s size, the electricity generated can either be used to power a few houses and businesses or be connected to the national grid to boost its voltage. Offshore wind turbines—installed in the middle of the ocean—are large, capturing and generating much more energy than land-based turbines.
Small wind turbines are often utilized for hybrid energy systems in remote locations to bolster energy sources from batteries, diesel generators, and photovoltaics. Hybrid energy systems are growing in popularity for both off-grid and grid-connected settings for added reliability and efficiency.
The Importance of Wind Turbine Generators
The generator is a key component of the wind turbine because it converts mechanical energy into electricity. Wind power production would not be possible if the generator fails. Therefore, generators should be kept in proper working conditions at all times. The best way to ensure that is through regular maintenance and timely repairs. A thorough preventative maintenance program can prolong the lifespan of wind turbine equipment and save on cost. Proper preventative maintenance practices help wind turbine operators to monitor and address any issues before complete part failure.
Common Wind Turbine Generator Problems
Excessive vibration: This is one of the most common causes of generator failure. Excess vibration of the head and body of a turbine can lead to complete failure during operation.
Ineffective yaw systems: This problem is caused by frequent changes in wind speed and direction, which can break down the effectiveness of the yaw system. It increasingly struggles to rotate the turbine according to the direction of the wind. Sometimes, the yaw system ends up overspeeding the rotation and impairing the stability of the wind turbine.
Other generator problems involve:
- Irregular voltage
- Cooling system failures
- Wind loading
- Bearing failures
- Harsh weather conditions
- Thermal cycling
Note that the location and type of wind turbine may affect the frequency of maintenance. In some cases, this means you may need to conduct more maintenance than the turbine manufacturer’s recommendation.
Wind Turbine Generator Repair and Maintenance From Renown Electric
Wind turbines are highly effective if they are well maintained. Regular maintenance of wind turbine generators is key to reducing the cost of producing wind energy and improving the overall service life of the turbines.
At Renown Electric, we have years of experience providing wind turbine generator repair and maintenance services. We also have an extensive inventory of replacement parts to ensure we complete turbine repairs quickly. Our ISO 9001:2015 certification, ISN compliance, Electro-Mechanical Authority (EASA) membership, EXIROS compliance, and other certifications are a testament to our commitment to providing our clients with the best products and services.
Renown Electric is also an authorized warranty center for many major brands that manufacture electric motors. Contact us today to schedule wind turbine generator maintenance services or to learn about our other products and capabilities.