How to install a wind turbine

How to install a wind turbine

The duration and intricacy of the installation of a wind turbine relies significantly on the size and sort of wind turbine. Preceding any turbine or farm installation it is important to commission a specialized review of the site from the point of view of physics and geographics, plus screen nearby windspeeds throughout some time frame. It is recommended that this time frame is a minimum of 3 months, but due to changing atmospheric conditions throughout the seasons (winter, springtime, summer…) might be necessary to do a complete analysis during longer periods of time.

In this post we are going to see in a brief way how to make the installation of a wind turbine from the point of view of the installation of the tower, the blades and the whole turbine itself.

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wind farm

Some introduction about wind turbines

Wind turbines have a life span of more or less 20 years. The evolution in technology and quality of the materials during the last years has increased the durability and the efficiency of wind turbines.

Previous works before installing the turbines

The installation of a wind farm requires a geographical overview to decide ground peculiarities that may influence the works, a geotechnical study to decide the ground conditions, a plan of prerequisites for the establishment at the turbine area and an earthing study to check the ground composition (needed to plan the electrical connections). This data is then used to decide the area of the primary equipments, for example the turbines’ locations, the wind turbine transformers, the high-voltage substations and the infrastructure to transport the electricity where it is needed.

Want to know more? Difference between onshore and offshore wind farms

Foundation preparation and installation

Depending on the size and type of turbine system, and especially nowadays where the turbines are getting higher and bigger in order to find better and more stable winds, the building of the foundations requires heavy machinery and the latest civil engineering experts.

foundation building
Building the foundations of the tower

As well it is usually necessary to wait for a period of at least 2 weeks after the building of the foundations in order to allow the concrete base to set in the soil.

In the construction of these foundations engineers have to take into account the vibrations of the turbine itself and all the physics that involve the correct functioning and support of the turbine.


How to install the wind turbine

wind turbine

Getting a wind turbine project from completely designed to completely installed requires multi-discipline designing ability, alongside with engineering and high capacity cranes and wind turbine establishment coordinations. 

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After the foundations have been built, then is time for the installation of the turbine, and here is where Airpes plays its role.

The whole process of installing a wind turbine can take from a few days to weeks, depending on the size of the turbine, and so on the difficulty of the project. However, and without taking into account how big is the turbine, the process is always the same: the wind turbine is assembled from bottom to top.

#1 Installing tower sections

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The tower is installed by pieces

The tower is the first part to be installed.

Since the towers are quite high it cannot be installed as a whole, but has to be done in pieces.

For building the tower we usually use normal high-capacity cranes that allow us to mount the different pieces of the tower correctly.

This task can take one or more days, depending on the size of the turbine (and so on the complexity of the process). 

#2 Installing the nacelle

The next step in the process of installing a wind turbine is the mounting of the nacelle. There are different types of nacelles, and usually the characteristics and size of it is directly related to the size of the wind turbine. The nacelle has de ability to turn 360º in order to orientate itself towards the wind direction.

#3 Installing the blades

The last step in any wind turbine assembly project is the installation of the blades. The blades are directly connected to the nacelle and rotor, and in every wind turbine they have the ability to move in order to stop or start the rotation and the production of energy. To stop working (because there’s too much or too less wind) the system orientates the blades parallel to the wind direction. To start working, the blades are orientated perpendicular to the wind direction. 

In small wind turbines the rotor is lifted with the blades already attached to it. However, in bigger modern wind turbines this can’t be done this way. 

Installation of the blades
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Installation of the blades by night

Curiosities, construction and transportation of wind turbine blades

Installing the blades without a crane

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Airpes has invented a system that allows to rotate the rotor/nacelle when there’s one or two blades missing, allowing the engineers to assemble the blades individually.

This system is also helpful in the case a blade needs to be replaced (because it has been damaged, for inspections…)

As well the system allows you to lift the blade using only the very own structure of the tower, so there’s no need to move in-place big cranes and machinery that have high cost in terms of rental and deployment. 

With this our Craneless Wind Turbine Rotor Blade Exchange System, the assembly of the blades of the wind turbine can be done with less equipment, cheaper and more comfortable for the customer. 

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Looking for assistance on the wind energy sector?

If you are looking for a reliable partner in the wind energy sector trust Airpes as your best option when it comes to wind industry and wind farm assembly, installation and logistics.

Contact us for more information in our contact page.

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