Bronto Skylift access platforms can be raised to 104 meters (340 feet) and provide access to more than 95 percent of wind towers currently in use in the United States.

Big Wind Projects Sprouting Everywhere

Acciona Energy, a Spanish company whose North American subsidiary has several U.S. projects under way, announced March 9 it has signed a deal to build three wind farms in the Mexican state of Oaxaca with 204 of its turbines providing 306 MW of total capacity. New equipment for servicing turbines is arriving, too.

Wind energy projects just keep coming, it seems, with three more large wind farms announced March 9 by Acciona Energy, a major player based in Spain. Acciona said its bid beat those of three other Spanish companies bidding for this project commissioned by Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission. The project is worth 450 million euros ($614 million U.S.), will be built in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, and will become operational in December 2011.

The three farms -- named Oaxaca II, Oaxaca III, and Oaxaca IV -- will be home for 204 Acciona Windpower AW 70/1500 1.5 MW turbines, creating a capacity of 306 MB overall and strengthening what the company calls its leading position in the Mexican wind power sector. (Acciona already operates one wind farm near the Oaxaca sites, the 250.5 MW Eurus facility, which is the largest wind power installation in Latin America and delivers electricity to CEMEX cement production plants across the country.)

The other bidders in this latest competition were Iberdrola Renovables, Recursos Eólicos de México (ACS), and Enerfin Sociedad de Energía (part of the Elecnor group), according to Acciona.

New equipment is coming, too, for inspecting, cleaning, and repairing rotor blades on turbines, including the increasingly popular 2.5 MW units. One supplier based in Finland, Bronto Skylift, supplies truck-mounted access platforms that offer access from 46 meters (150 feet) to 104 meters (340 feet), meaning they provide access to more than 95 percent of wind towers currently in use in the United States, the company says. The machines can be driven directly to a turbine and be fully operational within about five minutes, with a setup for the wind industry that includes a 9-foot-wide work platform with integrated electricity, air pressure, and water connections.

The company says standard safety features on the machines include:

  • Rigid work platform permanently attached to the telescopic boom allowing safe operation in windy conditions (up to 12 m/s)
  • Operation controlled from the platform giving superior visibility and operational accuracy
  • Intercom between platform and ground
  • Cage load sensor and overload alarm
  • Wind speed indicator and alarm
  • Two emergency descent systems in case of, for example, fuel running out
  • Interlocks prevent the lifting of the booms until the outriggers have ground pressure and the unit is leveled correctly
  • Emergency stop functions from the work platform, ground control, and outrigger control center

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