By: Chelsea Giles
The wind energy industry is one of the world’s newest energy sources and fastest growing industries, due to the recent push for renewable energy. Wind energy is cheap, has created new jobs, is a clean energy source, doesn’t require a lot of room,ᵃ and is a never-ending source. This energy source has proved to be very helpful across the globe. Even though it’s a more recent energy source, about 26 percent of Denmark’s electricity is already provided by wind, and at certain times of the year, 50 percent of Spain’s energy is from wind energy. In the United States, there are 77,000 wind turbines installed in its states and territories that supply 6.33 percentᵇ of the country’s electricity.ᶜ
The industry is expected to grow even more than it is now, with a projected growth of 400 percent by 2050.ᵈ Just in the United States, a new wind turbine is installed every 2.5 hours.ᵉ This is quite the feat considering the average wind turbine towers are 212 feet tall, 328 feet including the blades,ᶠ and require many people and advanced equipment to build.
Cranes and Wind Energy
Cranes are an important part in assembling these massive structures, as cranes are needed to lift material to the top of the turbine’s towers, which are usually over 200 feet tall. Cranes must have the capacity to lift structures as heavy as wind turbines. In the basic wind turbine model, the blades weight about 36 tons, the tower weights 71 tons, and the compartment on top that houses the generator and gearbox weighs 56 tons.ᵍ To keep up with the wind industry’s rapid growth rate, cranes also need to be reliable and efficient in performing their tasks.
Cranes are also needed in wind turbine projects because of their capacity to travel on difficult terrain. To reach better winds, a lot of wind turbines are placed in mountainous areas, making the installation even more difficult as vehicles and equipment need to handle the rough terrain and isolated location. There are many types of cranes that are very mobile and can handle these situations.
Crane Models available through WM Services
Rough Terrain Cranes
Rough terrain cranes are great for turbines built in rocky areas, as these cranes are built specifically for these situations. WM Services Crane & Rigging has one model of a rough terrain crane, the Grove RT890E. This model is great for rocky terrain, and for working in an area with limited space.
All Terrain Cranes
Most wind turbines aren’t built in such extreme locations that require rough terrain vehicles, but are built in areas surrounded by dirt and gravel. For these projects, WM Services has two all terrain crane models, the Grove GMK 5165 and Grove GMK 5275, that can travel more easily on different terrain. These models are great for wind projects that have many engineered parts involved, because this crane can easily travel to the project’s location on their own.
For wind turbines built in open areas that have excessive space, crawler cranes are especially helpful. Like all terrain and rough terrain cranes, crawler cranes are mounted on wheels, but don’t require stabilizers to be placed before lifting. This feature allows crawler cranes to easily move around while lifting and be more flexible during the construction process.
With so many versatile cranes and over 30 years of wind energy experience, WM Services will have the solution to any of your wind project needs. For more questions about what type of crane is best for wind turbine construction, call WM Services at (208) 547-4707.