Pattern Energy’s wind facilities are managed by an on-site facility manager and assistant facility manager and are remotely controlled around the clock, 24/7, at the Operations Control Center in Houston, Texas. The Operations Control Center employs a team of highly-skilled wind operators that constantly monitor and control all aspects of the turbines at Pattern Energy facilities, from wind speed and energy output to oil levels. The operations team in Houston coordinates closely with the on-site operators and maintenance teams at each facility.

Pattern Energy uses new, state-of-the-art wind turbines with advanced technology produced by the leading manufacturers. The innovative design of the Siemens SWT-2.3-108 model wind turbine utilized at Ocotillo Wind includes a rugged structural design, automatic lubrication system, internal climate control and enhanced proprietary generation system to achieve high reliability.

The wind turbines are equipped with a condition monitoring system that reduces the need for on-site servicing. The system operation compares the vibration levels of the major turbine components with a set of established reference spectra and instantly detects deviations from normal operating conditions.

Using knowledge gained from monitoring fleets of wind turbines over many years, the operations team is skilled at analyzing and predicting operational anomalies. This enhances proactive service planning and maintenance of the wind turbines as any unusual event can be categorized and prioritized based on severity.

There are two main types of maintenance for wind energy facilities:

1. Preventive Maintenance
Preventive maintenance is performed at predetermined intervals and is designed to optimize turbine performance by avoiding failures, reducing production loss and eliminating safety concerns.

  • Preventative maintenance services on modern wind turbines take approximately 80 man hours to complete each year and are scheduled during low wind periods when possible.
  • Quality control inspections are conducted intermittently on turbines between maintenance services.
  • Routine substation assessments and maintenance activities are performed on a weekly and monthly cycle, with more significant maintenance on an annual basis.
  • Meteorological tower maintenance is performed periodically for sensor replacement, calibration and corrosion prevention.
  • Road maintenance is performed throughout the year to maintain turbine access roads and for erosion repairs as necessary.

2. Corrective Maintenance
Corrective maintenance occurs when a turbine faults and requires unscheduled downtime while equipment is inspected and repaired. Examples include sensor errors, electronic faults, software updates, and other electrical issues such as battery and motor failures. Most corrective maintenance is done by technicians climbing the tower and working inside; however, occasionally a failure of a major machinery component will require replacement with the use of a temporary crane.