Thornton Tomasetti’s property loss consulting PLC and forensics professionals possess a depth of project experience and expertise. They have worked on everything from investigations involving high-rise buildings and bridge collapses to stadium roof failures and fire damage at a meat packaging plant. The PLC practice’s mechanical and electrical team recently moved into the wind power industry.

Senior Project Engineer Troy Ganson inside a wind turbine nacelle. (© Thornton Tomasetti)

Reliance on fossil fuels for producing electricity is decreasing, due in large part to U.S. federal subsidies and technological advances in renewable energy sources. The renewable energy market has increased substantially in the United States over the past three decades, and currently provides more than 4 per cent of total electricity to the grid. Wind power is among the most popular renewable energy sources. Since 2001, the generation capacity of wind turbines in the United States has increased more than 1,500 per cent to more than 48,000 turbines, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Although offshore wind projects are underway, the U.S. Energy Information Administration notes that the United States has more abundant onshore wind resources in sparsely populated areas. Projects are being installed throughout the great plains and western parts of the country.

Catastrophic failure of turbine blades. (© Thornton Tomasetti)

Seeking opportunity where others find risk, we are moving into wind power loss claims and working to create an industry standard for such investigations. To date, we have worked on wind power claims investigations involving structural, mechanical and electrical failures, both up-tower (requiring climbing to the top of the tower) and down-tower. These wind power claims have included main input shaft failures, electrical system failures, tower impacts and main bearing failures. Currently, we are working on several wind energy projects across the United States.

Members of the mechanical and electrical team taking part in climb certification exercises at an ENSA training facility. Pictured here is Vice President Michael Pagano. (© Thornton Tomasetti)

Vice President Tom Berry. (© Thornton Tomasetti)

 Associate Jason Jeffries. (© Thornton Tomasetti)

Senior Project Engineer José Canales. (© Thornton Tomasetti)

Senior Project Engineer Jacinto Solano. (© Thornton Tomasetti)

Our mechanical and electrical team is focusing on providing property loss consulting and forensic services with regard to these failures in scope of loss, restoration consulting and origin and cause of failures. Thornton Tomasetti currently has six ENSA-certified climbing professionals in four offices who cover electrical, mechanical and structural engineering claims: vice presidents Michael Pagano and Tom Berry, associate Jason Jeffries and senior project engineers Troy Ganson, José Canales and Jacinto Solano. The certification allows them to ascend wind towers and work safely within construction and general industry guidelines.

Failed turbine main input shaft. (© Thornton Tomasetti)

Our team is getting the word out about these services to existing and new clients in the renewable energy industry. We also expect to see demand from insurance adjusters that specialise in renewable energy systems claims. We anticipate an increase in the need for experienced consultants as the popularity of off-grid power solutions continues to grow.

This article is by José Canales and Troy Ganson, senior project engineers, New York and Kansas City.

Article source: Thornton Tomasetti