Operations and Maintenance

In the rapidly evolving field of wind energy, solar energy and energy storage, new innovations are constantly being incorporated into the operation and maintenance of facilities on the ground. The first phase in the life cycle of our three technologies is development, followed by construction and installation. The third phase is O & M. 

Once a new project has been commissioned for use, the responsibility is handed off to a new team of operational staff to operate and maintain the site. 

The site owner might use their own employees, or the site may be managed entirely by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), such as under the warranty agreement, or there could be a partnership with combined responsibilities, possibly including the employment of independent service providers (ISPs).

In all cases, the health and safety of everyone on site, whether a direct employee or contractor, is paramount. CanREA works with its members to develop resources for many operational situations, such as our “Best Practices for Wind Farm Icing and Cold Climate Health and Safety,” and shorter, targeted materials like our awareness pamphlet for first responders on suspension trauma.

Wind, solar and energy storage each have their own unique maintenance requirements. 

Operating and maintaining wind turbines means working at heights with industrial machinery. Some of the ongoing tasks that need to be performed include blade-cleaning, oil changes, bolt-tightening, and routine inspections. There are many moving parts, and advanced control systems, that contribute to the complexity of these machines. Our “Wind Turbine Technician Core Competencies” are a great way to learn more about this occupation and see how skill sets from other professions might compare.

Small wind turbines, suited for use at farms and residences, also have maintenance requirements. They may be designed so that the owner can do the work themselves, or require maintenance by visiting technicians. 

As for solar, maintenance tasks include cleaning panels, vegetation management, maintenance of tracking systems (if present), and replacement of damaged components. 

Rooftop and small-scale solar power systems require monitoring rather than a full operations and maintenance program. They are generally low-maintenance and only need professional attention in the event of damage or reduced performance. 

Energy-storage facilities utilize many different technologies, including various batteries, mechanical flywheels, heat-storage, and water-pumping options. Thus, their operations and maintenance requirements vary widely.

There are operations and maintenance needs common to the full complement of these solar, wind and energy-storage technologies, such as the maintenance of electrical transformers, inverters, sub-stations and associated power lines. You can find our “Best Practices for Wind Power Facility Electrical Safety” here.

CanREA is proud to bring together many member companies offering their services to deliver this phase in the life cycle of our technologies, enabling the industry to provide reliable, cost-effective power to consumers when it is needed. 

Explore all the content in the “Life Cycle” section of the website to learn more about the four phases of the life cycle of our technologies: Phase 1: Development. Phase 2: Construction and Installation. Phase 3: Operations and Maintenance. Phase 4: Repowering and Decommissioning.