Gearbox inspection at offshore windfarm
Stork Gears & Services was invited by E.ON Climate and Renewables to inspect the gearboxes of two V66 offshore wind turbines, each of 2 MW capacity.
The wind turbines are situated one kilometre off the coast of Blyth, United Kingdom, in an average water depth of eight metres. The Blyth offshore wind farm was the first offshore wind farm to be built in UK waters. These turbines, capable of powering 2,500 average households, were (in the year 2000) the largest erected offshore anywhere in the world. They were also the first to be built in such a demanding position, subject to the full forces of the North Sea.
The inspections were carried out to assess the condition of the gearboxes. In order to visually inspect the bearings and the planetary part of the gearbox, a videoscope, GE type Everest XL G3, was used.
Offshore inspection projects require specific skills and qualifications in order to operate successfully and safely in such a challenging environment. Our inspection and engineering personnel have industry recognized qualifications, such as "Wind turbine climbing and rescue certificate" and other offshore certificates. Over the years we have developed thorough skills and in-depth understanding of onshore and offshore wind turbine inspections.
An increasing number of offshore wind turbines have been installed at the North Sea providing clean, renewable domestic energy as a result of the growing demand for electricity with zero-emissions. Wind turbines can be sited offshore, where the wind blows harder and larger turbines can be installed. Many offshore wind farms are being proposed and developed today in densely populated Europe, where there is limited space on land and relatively large offshore areas with shallow water.