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Here’s How Renewable Energy Plants Should Prep for Winter

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Emily Newton's picture
Editor-In-Chief Revolutionized Magazine

Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief at Revolutionized Magazine. She enjoys writing articles in the energy industry as well as other industrial sectors.

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  • Dec 13, 2021

Last year, Earth experienced a La Niña that moved the colder parts of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) pattern across the planet. Renewable energy plants experience production limitations as surface temperatures drop, challenging nations’ new carbon-neutrality goals. Support worldwide is becoming overwhelming for emission-free electric grids.

Electricity industry professionals can produce reliable and consistent supplies by conducting weather-specific renewable energy maintenance on existing systems. Clean power technologies require different winter preparation techniques, supporting new grid advancements. Before evaluating the ways to prepare a renewable energy plant, individuals must explore colder weather's effects on production rates.

Winter Weather's Effects on Renewable Energy Systems

Many residents of the northern regions opt out of residential solar installations. They believe the systems are less effective in cool regions with high snowfall rates. However, winter precipitation is less impactful on panel efficiency rates than summer heat, proving its value in the north.

Solar systems may experience a 15% increase in production during the cooler season. One solar production limitation from winter weather is the decrease in daylight. As the days become shorter, there is less fuel for panels to use when producing electricity.

Increased winter winds cause additional impacts on renewable energy systems. During the La Niña season, Earth experiences a rise in wind speeds, enhancing turbine functions. Many energy professionals rely on wind power to support electricity demands when solar efficiencies decrease.

One adverse effect on turbines in the winter is freezing. During the extreme freeze in Texas in February 2021, a significant portion of the state experienced prolonged power outages. Part of the blackout came from from frozen turbines, which stopped or limited their production rates.

Advanced clean energy systems now utilize battery storage features. During extreme cold spells, these devices experience efficiency reductions. If the batteries are unable to support storage needs, the emission-free electric grid becomes unstable.

Electricity professionals can conduct renewable energy maintenance to prevent production deficiencies during the changing seasons. When they develop reliable power supplies, countries can achieve their carbon-neutrality goals.

The Current Demand for Abundant Clean Power Supplies

During the combustion phase, fossil fuels release greenhouse gases into the environment and atmosphere. Over time, these emissions alter the atmosphere's composition, limiting its ability to produce life-sustaining temperatures. Earth relies on a strategic process that regulates surface conditions to support the global ecosystem.

The atmosphere makes use of infrared radiation to produce heat, warming the environment. Then, it gathers excess energy and emits it to space. Excess greenhouse gases interfere with the process by raising the atmospheric light-to-heat conversion rate. Trapping and overproducing heat raises Earth's temperature over time.

Creating an abundant supply of renewable energy through each season can prevent the enhanced greenhouse effect, protecting the global ecosystem.

Wind Farm Winter Maintenance

Wind farm operators can conduct renewable energy maintenance to increase society's access to emission-free electricity in the winter. Professionals can install cold weather packages for turbines in low-temperature regions like the northeast. The system connects to the gearbox, providing internal heat and preventing freezing.

Cold weather packages protect turbines during -22°F days. Operators can also spray turbine blades with anti-icing materials during the changing seasons. Environmental engineers are also developing drones that de-ice turbines.

The Aerones drone device has 36 propellers and rotates around a turbine blade, effectively protecting systems from freezing. Using drones to conduct renewable energy maintenance decreases on-site injuries. There are also ways system operators can preserve solar efficiency levels during seasonal changes.

Solar Power System Winter Maintenance

During the winter, light snowfall has zero effects on panel production rates. UV light rays penetrate the precipitation, and photovoltaic (PV) systems continue generating clean electricity. One impact on panel functions through the winter is roof damage.

Energy professionals can ensure solar panels' reliability and high efficiency by repairing rooftops before the snowy season. Individuals may conduct roof renovations by first assessing its stability. They may work with a certified inspector to determine which areas need renovating.

Seasonal maintenance workers can use the results to repair damaged shingles, rotted materials, leaks, and other forms of degradation. When they conduct renovations, they may use sustainable materials and equipment to support national sustainability goals. Individuals can evaluate the regulation of volatile organic compounds (VOC) before repairing a roof.

Using low- or non-VOC sealants and adhesives can help professionals renovate rooftops with minimal ecological impacts. The materials also protect worker health, improving localized air quality. After solar companies conduct roof repairs, they can ensure the security and efficiency of panels throughout the winter season.

Hydroelectric Plant Winter Maintenance

Hydroelectricity is the largest clean energy supplier around the globe. It produces about 99% of Norway's electricity, minimizing emissions and preserving the atmosphere. In the winter, hydropower systems experience production limitations from ice jams.

While environmental engineers continue searching for freeze-prevention technologies, operators can use smart technology to monitor conditions. Adopting the internet of things (IoT) on a hydropower plant can significantly decrease weather-related damage. The systems may predict and monitor local temperatures, helping operators adjust production practices to protect a plant during freezes.

Storage Batteries

Additionally, energy professionals can enhance clean power production by tending to storage batteries during the changing seasons. Recent technological advancements combined solar and wind energy with fuel cell storage devices. Extreme heat and cold interfere with the efficiency levels of batteries, requiring seasonal maintenance.

While sustainable batteries work more effectively during the winter months, they still require some alterations. Hydrogen fuel cells reside in containers like shipping crates, which professionals can heat to maintain production levels. They may utilize a portion of the renewable energy to power space heaters, decrease environmental impacts, and preserve the technology.

When Is the Best Time to Conduct Renewable Energy Maintenance?

Clean energy professionals can conduct seasonal maintenance effectively before temperatures drop below freezing. Snowfall can interfere with system changes, limiting workers' ability to weatherize renewable technologies. Late fall is the best time to facilitate renewable energy maintenance and prevent weather interference.


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