9 May 2019
The quiet giant of wind industry safety
Publisher Renews Limited St George’s House, St George’s Street, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8BG, UK. ISSN 1478-307X © All articles appearing in re news are protected by copyright. Any unauthorised reproduction is strictly prohibited.
Turbine manufacturer Nordex has joined the Global Wind Organisation, becoming the group’s 17th member and shining a spotlight on vital but unglamorous work going on behind the scenes. GWO is perhaps not widely known. The non-profit, formed in 2012 and owned by its members, creates and administers technical training standards and so is a crucial and growing force supporting industry safety both onshore and offshore. So far the body has created and constantly updates eight different training standards, and has accredited more than 311 training providers in 40 countries. At the end of last year more than 74,000 people, up to 10% of the global wind workforce, held a GWO certificate of some kind and that number is growing rapidly. GWO last month launched a blade repair training standard and is currently preparing a new benchmark for slinger signallers for lifting operations in the industry. The wider mission is an injury-free working environment in wind energy: an impossible goal that means the organisation will never cease to strive for improved standards and their adoption worldwide. The safety case of training standardisation is compelling but so is the business case. For example, there are more than 400 certificates covering slinger signalling in Europe, piling on the administrative burden for wind companies
and leading to inconsistencies in learning and competence. GWO reckons adopting its framework reduces duplication, boosting productivity by allowing technicians to be available for work up to six additional days a year. The body now has real momentum. Members include eight of the top 10 global turbine suppliers and four of the top 10 wind farm owner-operators. Accredited training providers are growing in all corners of the globe with companies in Pakistan, Malaysia and even Haiti joining the fold over the past month. The nascent US offshore industry is looking at GWO standards as it strives to build a local supply chain served by local training centres. We would urge companies large and small to join the likes of GE, Vestas, Siemens Gamesa, Orsted and SSE as members and help build a safer wind industry. n The new UN global biodiversity report warning that a million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction due to human impacts on nature is truly frightening. Land and sea use change, as well as direct exploitation of animals and nature, are cited as major causes but the third primary factor is climate change. The need to slash greenhouse gas emissions by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy across the board is unarguable and urgent.
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IN THE FRAME
SCORCHED EARTH: Fred Olsen Renewables’ 64.4MW Paul’s Hill wind farm is operating normally after wildfires forced the project in Moray, Scotland, to be shut down late last month. The Norwegian company said the site’s 28 Bonus B82 2.3MW turbines escaped the flames. Compatriot developer Statkraft’s nearby Berry Burn is also operating normally after suffering damage to communication cables but its 29 Enercon E-70 turbines were unscathed. Photo: Carrbridge Fire Station
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