In an industry in a constant state of flux, and with environmentally-conscious decisions at the forefront of energy conversations, it’s becoming increasingly important to consider sustainable options – and reusing, repowering or upgrading parts to extend equipment service life is a clear way to do this.
Managing wind turbines is no easy feat. From protecting workers from the dangers of wind turbine brake dust, to protecting surrounding communities from yaw noise and managing the general ageing of infrastructure and parts, it requires expertise and experience.
In its 2023 report, Winding Up: Decommissioning, Recycling and Waste Management of Australian Wind Turbines, the Clean Energy Council discussed the importance of upgrading wind turbine parts to support a longer usage lifetime.
“Reusing turbines or turbine parts, considered to be the option with the highest value for decommissioned wind turbines, is an effective and feasible way of obtaining a second life cycle,” the report said. With over 599 turbines in Australia over 15 years old, the CEC said it was more important than ever for wind turbine owners to consider making more sustainable end-of-life cycle choices.
Lifetime extensions starts with maintenance
Getting the most from wind farms must include inspections and maintenance to ensure operation beyond the design life. Five major components that are regularly assessed include: blades, blade bearings, hubs, nacelles and towers. Structural components – tower, yaw systems, bed plates, main shafts and pitch systems – also have regular, necessary inspections to ensure safe and efficient operation.
The CEC report stated that a major issue in Australian wind farms is the limited number of wind turbines in operation that are compatible with refurbishments and repowering components. This is due to the low level of domestic access to necessary replacement parts.
With partial repower, drivetrain repower and component refurbishment supporting the potential lifetime extension of parts by 20 years or more, replacing and upgrading ageing parts should be a pivotal part of wind farm’s sustainability and financial practices.
A family of experience
Regal Rexnord, an international supplier of essential products that ensure smooth systems in mission-critical applications, includes a large portfolio of power transmission products. This includes yaw brakes, rotor brakes, high speed shaft couplings, clutches and brakes to service the Australian wind energy market.
Regal Rexnord finalised the acquisition of wind turbine brake manufacturer and service partner Altra Motion in March 2023. Altra Motion Australia Managing Director, Junior Eltagonde, said the companies have an exciting future ahead.
“From a strategy point of view, Regal Rexnord has really left us to continue on our growth initiatives and ensure that we keep supporting and looking after our customers,” Mr Eltagonde said.
“Down the line, there’s obviously some synergies that we can work on with our sister companies; however, particularly for us, we’re very much business as usual and Regal Rexnord has really given us the autonomy to continue doing what we do best.”
Mr Eltagonde said that Altra Motion Australia may have a new owner, but it was the same Altra Motion that has supported the Australian energy industry with reliable power transmission and renewable energy solutions and service for decades.
“We are proud of this achievement and acknowledge this will continue as Regal Rexnord and Altra Motion collaborate and deliver their like minded people, ideas, and capabilities,” Mr Eltagonde said.
Regal Rexnord Australia is continuing to uphold Altra Motion’s three decades of experience in wind turbine braking systems and offers solutions to meet the needs of the entire wind turbine life cycle – with an emphasis on upgrading existing projects and equipment.
Working in close partnership with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), Regal Rexnord will ensure it’s ‘business as usual’, developing products, components and assemblies to suit designs and specific requirements from the initial prototype phase.
Regal Rexnord Australia has multiple facilities across the country, including Sydney, Melbourne, Mackay, Newcastle and Perth. The service centres in Sydney, Perth and Queensland also serve as certified rebuild centres for Svendborg, Marland, Stromag, Ameridrives, Stieber & Industrial clutch products.
Fully staffed with local technicians, Regal Rexnord Australia provides fast-response onsite service, installation and commissioning support including a 24/7 breakdown callout service. With correct adjustments to OEM specifications and qualified and experienced OEM technicians, Regal Rexnord Australia provides unmatched power automation support.
This sponsored editorial was brought to you by Regal Rexnord Australia. For more information about Regal Rexnord Australia and their genuine spare parts and service capabilities, head to www.altramotionaustralia.com