What does a wind turbine technician do?

5 June 2019

We’ve got over 70 windmills all over the UK, and a dedicated team of wind turbine engineers who look after them to make sure they generate plenty of green energy to supply our customers.

But with miles of wiring and thousands of electrical components spread over 85 vertical meters, there’s a lot to keep on top of! We spoke to Tim Meek, one of our wind turbine technicians, to find out how he keeps our windmills spinning.

Travel to our wind parks

I’m up at 6.30am to pack my stuff and cycle to Q Park in Stroud. We get the van sorted, packing for every eventuality, and make sure we have enough equipment to keep us going for however long we’ll be away.

Travelling to our wind turbine sites can take as little as 10 minutes if we’re travelling just up the road to Nympsfield, or a couple of days if we’re going to our Northern Ireland site.

Climb the wind turbines

We isolate the turbine so we can work on it safely, and perform any parts of the service we can do from the bottom of the turbine. One of the team will go on ahead and climb up to the top of the turbine, to winch up:

  • The tools we need
  • Replacement parts
  • Our rescue kit
  • Food and water bottles
  • Extra coats

Around half of our wind turbines have elevators, so we can be winched up to the top. Otherwise, it’s a long climb to the top via a ladder which runs up the middle of the turbine.

Once the rest of the team have climbed up, work begins on the top section.

Service the turbines

The majority of the service involves checking the wind turbine is working properly, and replacing, greasing, measuring, and cleaning various parts. If a blade seal has come loose, there can be grease covering most of the spinner section inside the nose cone. This can take quite a bit of cleaning up!

Sometimes it’s too windy to work – if wind speed is constantly above 36mph, we stay on the ground. This is pretty rare but, when it does happen, it gives us a chance to catch up on paperwork, do some training, or fix parts in the workshop.

Check for wind turbine faults

If we’re working on a fault, it can be really unpredictable – we quite often work overtime, just stopping to get food or a change of work clothes, before we get some sleep and start all over again the next day.

Fault finding on a wind turbine can be a pretty daunting task, but it’s hugely rewarding when we see the blades startturning again. The technical team are always really supportive in helping us solve faults when they crop up.

 

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