Traditionally, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) focus has been on designing turbines that will last 20 years, perform reliably and produce as the nameplate describes. As turbine reliability increases, maintenance costs and downtime should decrease. However, significant unknowns remain for the turbine life cycle. This means OEMs, owners and independent service providers (ISPs) alike are all watching the installed base closely to learn how to offer better planned and unplanned maintenance solutions. To do so, they rely heavily on data and service innovation for improved production, lower operating expense and extended project life.
On February 15th, the FAA issued a Noticed of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the future outlook of small drones (under 55 pounds). Overall the proposed rules were far more lenient than many people in the industry had expected. A few key rules for the wind O&M industry include:
About three years ago we decided to make our brand promise “A Higher Standard of Service™”. It wasn’t because we are arrogant, or believe we are better than others, but purely because we wanted to establish a bar for ourselves and an expectation for our customers. The question is, how do we measure or benchmark for this goal?
We measure customer satisfaction and drive continuous improvement through our quality program and while this is an important exercise, it does not benchmark our service level against the industry. We needed to find another approach, a true benchmark, with an acceptable unbiased method by which to measure it. So, in March this year we commissioned DNV GL to undertake an ‘O&M Capabilities Assessment’ of UpWind in order to gain insight to the critical questions, “how good are we” and “how do we compare to others”?
The UpWind team is very excited to welcome wind industry experts to the leading Wind O&M and Safety Seminar in San Diego on January 15th and 16th. We are a local San Diego company with our new headquarters only a short distance from the seminar on Coronado Island and are proud to be chairing the annual AWEA event that features over 47 speakers across 15 sessions in a two day period. The event is fun, enlightening, and innovative. All attendees are sure to walk away with actionable wind farm operations and maintenance strategies that you can implement and begin benefitting from right away.
Tom Kiernan will be there to represent AWEA and discuss the future of O&M and its importance to the success of wind industry. The seminar will be kicked off by the program chairs Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, Peter Wells, CEO of UpWind Solutions, and Gary Lee, Health and Safety Manager for EDP Renewables North America. They will be discussing the most innovative O&M and safety best practices, new technology, and how we can shape the future of O&M in wind.
What safety means to UpWind
Are we good, or are we lucky? This was the question that our former CEO Marty Crotty, and my former boss, was fond of asking our team when talking about our safety program. Marty would also look for a show of hands for how many people had changed a light bulb while standing on a chair instead of a ladder or step, or crossed a road even though there wasn’t a green signal. These questions always struck me as compelling. They forced our team to consider the reality of their situation, and to be honest about their actions, their decisions, they drove awareness.
As we continue to grow we recognize the importance of making sure we have a strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy and policy. By putting principles and controls around integrity in place now we can ensure that we maintain our core values, our passion for A Higher Standard of Service™ and appropriate business practices long after we establish a global business model (customers, markets and supply chain).
UpWind Solutions, Inc., the wind industry’s leading third party provider of asset management operations and maintenance services (O&M) with 2.5+ GW in their fleet, announced they have signed O&M agreements for the Trinity Hills, Sherbino 2, and Silver Star 1 wind farms in Texas and the Flat Ridge 1 wind farm in Kansas, representing a combined 485 megawatts (MW) of production. The four wind farms are owned by wholly-owned subsidiaries of BP Wind Energy. The contract is for UpWind technicians to perform O&M services on a total of 194 Clipper C-93 and C-96 turbines.
Why does it matter?
Let's face it, we probably all ask ourselves this question from time to time. We all recognize that we are fortunate to live in a great country, have a job, a home, clean clothes and good food. For many people around the world, just one of these would be miraculous. Even so, we want to know we matter, that what we do matters, that we make a difference.