Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems chose the Genie SX-180 boom for its latest retrofit project, fitting lightning-deterrent tips to 50 turbines at the Michigan Wind 2 wind farm, owned and operated by Exelon Group.
Offering 180 ft (54.8 m) of vertical reach, the new boom is the largest unit the company currently offers. For the Michigan Wind 2 project, the booms were needed to reach turbine tips towering 155 ft (47.2 m) off the ground. While the booms offered more reach than was needed, Tim Matthews, site manager for Vestas, said it was good to have the additional reach in reserve.
“It allows us room to maneuver the boom into the best possible position, rather than being constrained by a boom whose reach has been maxed out. With an extra 25 ft (7.6 m) of reach, additional opportunities like looking further up each blade for lightning damage or leading edge erosion become possible. That’s a nice luxury to have,” he said.
The SX-180 offers a number of features that Matthews’ crew found particularly beneficial in the turbine project. These include an 8 ft (2.4 m) by 3 ft (0.90 m) work platform, which proved ideal for two men and the equipment needed for the retrofit. The unit also offers a 10 ft (3 m) jib that rotates 60° horizontally and 135° vertically.