Residential wind-electric systems require tall towers to get above obstructions to the wind—trees, buildings, nearby land forms. High above this “ground clutter” is where the useful wind is, and that’s what’s needed for good energy production.
And while we may focus on the wind turbine itself as the star of the show, towers are a crucial part of a complete wind-electric system and a major part of the cost and the construction project. Some sites can use tilt-up towers, which allow all installation and service work to be done on the ground. But most wind turbines are atop towers that must be climbed. Normal maintenance for typical residential wind turbines includes inspection at least once a year, but twice a year is better—once before and after the windy season.
Among the climbers of small wind-turbines, I’ve seen a strong focus on work practices that support safety and comfort aloft. In this article, we’ll hear from six experienced climbers, and learn about some of their favorite gear and top techniques for climbing and working on towers—and get some sage advice for aspiring climbers.
“Choosing a Wind Turbine Tower” by Roy Butler in HP161• homepower.com/161.34
“Wind-Electric System Maintenance” by Roy Butler & Ian Woofenden in HP135 • homepower.com/135.98
“Learning the Ropes: A Beginner’s Guide to Tower Climbing Safety” by Ian Woofenden in HP128 • homepower.com/128.66
“Tools of the Wind-Electric Trade” by Ian Woofenden in HP124 • homepower.com/124.98
“2015 Wind Turbine Buyer’s Guide: Why, Where & How to Do Wind Electricity” by Ian Woofenden & Roy Butler in HP167 • homepower.com/167.50