A Day in the Life of a Wind Project

“Did you guys feel that?”  The walkie talkie crackled from the crew at the top.

“Holy #$%^&!”, cried the crane operator.

The day started at 5:30 AM.  I was on the road by 6.  As is often so far this winter, the snow was falling heavily, and the roads were slippery.  It could be a long drive.  But by Hepworth, the snow had stopped, and the roads weren’t too bad.

I arrived at the site around 10:00 AM.  Winds were calm, but the first tower section lift of the day had not commenced.  The safety manager wanted some ice chipped out, to prevent it from falling on the crew below.  No problem – what’s a couple of hours?  And of course, safety is job one.

By 11:00 AM, the first tower section had been placed, and the torquing began.  By 1:30, the second tower section was in place.  The weather was calm, and brilliant sunshine reflected off the snow.  By 4:30, in the gathering twighlight, the nacelle was placed.  It would be good to use the calm time to get the rotor placed too.

So the stadium lights were positioned to provide lights for the lift of the rotor.  Snow began to fall, and it fell straight down, like a Christmas card.  By the time they were ready to lift, the winds had increased to 8 m/sec as measured by the anemometer at the top of the crane boom.  No problem – we can lift rotors safely in winds less than 10 m/sec.  The rotor was slowly raised.
Suddenly, and without warning, the wind picked up.  The tower shook.  The anemometer jumped from 8 m/sec to 14.  A quick decision was made to lower the rotor.  Lowering rotors safely, in high winds, is a bit tricky.  The winds stayed high for several hours – the right decision had been made.  And the rotor was lowered safely.

Sometimes nothing seems easy.  But nothing was lost but time.  One blade suffered a nick, but it can be repaired easily.  No one was hurt.

And the project continues.

Leave a Reply