August 13, 2012

UD wind turbine spinning again

By Henry J. Evans Jr. | 13 August 2012

Lewes – The University of Delaware’s Lewes wind turbine is back on line following repairs to a damaged blade and installation of a new generator that is being field-tested prior to commercial production.

Work on the turbine was completed and the unit returned to full service by Aug. 2, said Ron Ohrel, spokesman for University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean and Environment.

In June, one of the turbine’s blades was damaged by lightning, prompting the university and Gamesa Technology Corp. to shut it down. He said only the blade was damaged, and the wind turbine’s sensitive electrical and mechinacal components, and tower were not effected because the unit has a lightning protection system.

“There is a grounding system for the turbine as well as lightning arresters, shielding for electrical cables, and grounding systems for electrical components such as the generator, converter, transformer, and switchgear,” Ohrel said.

He said the lightning protection system meets International Electrotechnical Commission standards and is certified by Germanischer Lloyd, the global authority in wind energy. It provides the highest level of protection against lightning, he said.

Gamesa manufactured the 2-megawatt wind turbine, which the company owns and operates in partnership with the university.

About the time of the lightning strike, Gamesa had planned to replace the wind turbine’s original generator with one the company will produce in Wisconsin for the U.S. market.

Dedicated in June 2010, the wind turbine serves as a platform for several research projects. In addition to studying the new generator’s performance, researchers are examining corrosion in a marine environment; impact on bird and bat populations; mechanical forces from the turbine blades into the nacelle, which houses the turbine’s main components; tower vibration under strong winds; and new blade and transformer monitoring systems.

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