2017 Meteorological Tower Best Practice Highlights

Looking through old photos on our server reminiscing about all the fun places we have been this year, I start to notice a theme. There are some serious best practice shortfalls that our clients require us to mitigate. Some of the stuff we see is pretty unbelievable as we usually get called in to commission the tower after a shoddy install. The thought in the back of my mind while we are doing some of this remediation work is ‘man, if this were done right the first time, I wouldn’t be here’ dreaming of walking through warm sand on a beach in California or climbing rocks in Yosemite. It’s crazy to think of all the lost value to the client that a poor install, left in place for years represents. Its fulfilling work, though often in harsh weather and nearly always in an ‘off the deck’ situation that can be challenging to navigate on windy days. I’ve been doing this for 10 years now, so troubleshooting sensors in cold wind is all in a days work. Met tower work doesn’t get the press that turbine work does, but I think it’s more fun to be outside than up and down ladders all day in a steel tube. It’s a blast leaning out on my Petzl Grillon to change an anemometer, or running a lift-and-lower rig with our Petzl I’D.

We have had a great time traveling to client sites. This year we visited 3 sites on opposite sides of our home state of California from mountains to desert. We saw wild deer, antelope, buffalo, and elk. Washington, Oklahoma, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico, Texas, and Nevada all got some Big Stone love this year as well. Next year we have Kansas, Texas, Ontario, and New York lined up so far!

Sit back and enjoy the slideshow, and don’t hesitate to contact us if your met tower is broken! We are the rock solid quality experts!

This 25′ guyed booms guy wire anchors had been ripped off in an ice storm. The previous contractor had used beam clamps to attach the stability cabling for this boom. So we retrofitted the boom with corrosion resistant components and bolt on brackets. Luckily it was still there when we arrived on site instead of broken off and smashed through the transformer!! Big Stone can provide annual inspections to help you stay on top of your maintenance needs. Ice happens!

New anemometer, new cable, and new boom support guy wires! Solid!

Much better. This equipment will be solid for another 25 years!

Gorgeous Oklahoma sunset after a long day of work!

On to Nevada applying torque to tower structural hardware.

Another great installation in a beautiful part of the Great Basin!

We always love traveling to the Great Basin for the dry air and supreme scenery. We saw wild antelope on this trip in abundance.

Wild Antelope in the desert of California. What a cool site to see them in the shade of the turbines!

This job required troubleshooting in the substation to isolate fiber optic connectivity problems at the met tower.

On to one of California’s most scenic regions. Snow capped mountains and conifer forests greet the lucky visitor.

Changing out sensors on these big guyed booms can be tough but we have it down!

On to New Mexico. Our client informed us before the trip that one of their met towers had a non-functional Relative Humidity signal. Our response:

That was an easy one to figure out! We swapped this sensor for a new one and this tower was back on the road after replacing the safety climb cable guides. The previous contractor had not tensioned the climb cable and this was the result:

One from on the tower. The missing rubber indicates a severe amount of play in the cable tension that causes significant movement (usually in an oscillating pattern) resultant to the wind.

New cable guide! We had to swap about 30 of these out parkwide as a result of poor cable tension in the safety cable. Improper tension can lead to severe safety problems for your site! See below, you can’t really hear what I’m saying in the wind but just look at the cable and imagine this cable whipping against the steel tower for years and what kind of shape it would be in. Are you ready to get your towers inspected now? Feel free to get in touch if you would like to know the backstory.

Leveled that out!

Mature Cholla cactus near the base of the tower. New Mexico is beautiful!

Checking signals to ensure a viable data set before the site goes commercial.

Another beautiful New Mexico sunset!

It’s been a great year and we can’t wait for the what is around the bend in 2018. Thanks for reading, and get in touch if you would like some help fixing your met towers!


Big Stone Renewables is headed to New Orleans next week for AWEA’s Wind Resource Assessment Seminars!  September 16-17 2015

Email us if you’re going!

Hope to see you there!