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Operating a wind turbine requires a facility to house spare parts inventory and other consumables such as lubricants, cleaners, etc. These materials need to be kept close to the turbines for quick access for maintenance technicians so that production downtime can be kept to a minimum. The spare parts list that should be kept at this site can be tailored based on project size and economics. The turbine manufacturer or the maintenance crew can be helpful in determining the proper balance between inventory cost, component reliability, and replenishment cycle appropriate to achieve the project’s goals. There are economic trade-offs to be made in managing this onsite inventory. Some of these aspects may be negotiable in the agreements with the manufacturer or maintenance provider.
In addition, some materials may be hazardous, flammable, or require proper containment and disposal for environmental stewardship. It is the project owner’s responsibility to comply with local regulations and ensure proper procedures are followed. Material Safety and Data Sheets (MSDS) should be available and documented onsite. If necessary, personal protective equipment (PPE), shower, and eyewash stations should be provided. A lavatory for technicians as well as basic communication systems such as internet access, phone lines, etc. will reduce time away from the site when technicians need to conduct their work. The facility should provide the proper interior environment to protect the materials from moisture, temperature or other destructive elements. Proper security measures should also be considered to prevent theft, tampering, or unauthorized access to the facility.
The project supervisory and data acquisition system (SCADA) that is used to remotely monitor, communicate with, and control the turbines, will also need to be located onsite and the maintenance facility may often be a good location to house that equipment.