The sight of the rows of tall and slender wind turbines is anathema to some but to others an enhancement to the view. Whatever your thoughts, wind turbines are here to stay, their sleek white fans continually turning and, in effect, making electricity from fresh air.
Wind turbines have come a long way since the first automatically operated turbine for generating electricity was invented by an American in 1887, they are now an increasingly important source of renewable energy. Their life span is estimated to be 20 years but within those 20 years, they need maintenance and/or repairs, the tips of the blades can reach speeds of 150 mph and eventually show signs of wear resulting in a significant decrease in power production.
These days most turbines are examined and maintained by technicians on a platform that can be raised and lowered as necessary, the technicians must be able to:
- Work effectively at a height of 300 feet
- Diagnose problems
- Inspect and repair turbine blades
- Perform routine maintenance on all mechanical components
Sometimes it is necessary for a technician to be hoisted up the turbine without the platform, in these cases the equipment used is comprised of numerous components, those that enable the hoisting and those to ensure the safety of the worker:
- Fall arrest devices
- Rigging pulleys
- Rope through pulleys
- Carabiners with locking systems
- Carabiners with screw plates
- Rigging plates
- Ropes of varying lengths and strengths
- Snap hooks
- Descender s
Anyone interested in wind turbines may like to know that in some localities where the turbines are impossible to miss, the attention they gain has been exploited by the opening of visitor centers and/or viewing areas.