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Climbing a Wind Turbine

Aug. 20, 2019
Martha Davis, T&D World's senior content director, shares her experience climbing a wind turbine.

In T&D World magazine, we often highlight wind energy projects around the world. Here is a look at the inside of a wind turbine in Waverly, Kansas. 

Our Senior Content Director, Martha Davis, climbed to the top of a wind turbine in Waverly, Kansas, so we can all see its inner workings. There were four 75-ft sections of ladder, plus another 20-ft section to climb to the top of the nacelle. Even with the climb assist technology, this was very physically challenging. And, look at the size of the bolts in the background!
Most of the ladders are connected by very strong magnets. That’s what you call trust! The insulated line to the right of the ladder is a 345 kV line. 

This is a picture of the rotors and generator within the nacelle. There were 40 mph wind gusts on this day, which meant an almost 8-ft sway up at the top. I even had some motion sickness when back on the ground.

Fun Fact: These gears have a 1:70 ratio.

I made it to the top of the nacelle and could see for miles. I'm still smiling in this picture because I didn’t yet know how much harder it is to climb down. Mad respect to the folks that do this every day.

Fun Fact: The blades each have a 250-ft radius, and the highest point of the turbine is 497 ft tall.

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