Wind turbine blade inspection and repair company Altitec has decided to increase its number of technician team leaders across its windfarms over coming years.
Altitec is hosting its blade supervisor summit near Berlin this week, with discussion focused on the leadership and communication challenges of managing global technician teams on multiple sites and developing maintenance relationships with turbine OEMs. Thirty of the wind industry’s most experienced blade technicians and supervisors are meeting to review training and repair procedures, discuss project and team management and share tips, advice and observations on blade repair, gathered from work on wind farms around the world.
Altitec is one of the most experienced contractors in the industry, having installed more than 150 GW of wind capacity in Europe alone. As the industry grows, new wind farms continue to come online, and older assets approach end of warranty, with the result that the company has identified a pressing need for more technicians with the experience to lead fleet maintenance.
“The stresses blades are exposed to by the elements over their working lives make regular inspections essential for sustaining performance and minimising downtime” said Altitec CEO Tom Dyffort. ““Altitec is investing in skills to increase the number of technician teams we can field, and ensure asset owners can benefit from the expertise and leadership of our teams, particularly during end of warranty inspections. With many turbines likely to operate out of warranty for decades, a smooth transition of maintenance responsibility is essential for ensuring asset performance and investment returns are maintained into the future.”
All Summit participants are attending training sessions with Altitec’s Senior Blade Repair Trainer, Pedro Texeira, and Wind Operations Manager, Drew Sampson. The training sessions build on attendees many years of blade repair experience and working at height onshore and offshore. They are focussed on advanced blade repair techniques involving the latest turbine technologies, such as larger, 8 MW turbines. In addition, attendees will take part in specialised leadership and communications workshops.
As the European turbine fleet ages, the industry will face increasing demand not only for blade technicians, but also for those with the experience to lead inspection and repair teams. Over the coming years, asset owners will be looking at how blade repair and maintenance can help to extend an asset’s operating life beyond its design life, securing maximum value in the process.
To do this, the demands made on blade maintenance teams by asset owners will cover not only inspections and simple repairs, but also enhancements that boost production as well as field repairs to blade technologies that may no longer be supported by OEMs. This will require technician teams not only to have inspection and repair skills, but also provide a knowledge-based and analytical consultancy that can provide technical guidance on extending blade – and ultimately asset – lifetimes.