Our team of professionals have installed hundreds of met towers.
We’ve installed hundreds of met towers across North America in support of wind energy projects for financial institutions, electric utilities, communities, economic development groups, universities, high schools, industrial plants, and Native American Tribes.
Many installers use a five man crew, but our team has worked out a very efficient system enabling us to make great time with a two person crew.
Our Sales and Installation Services include:
- Equipment sales
- New installs
- Lattice and tilt-up towers
- Service work
- Tower relocation
- Sensor upgrades
- First Class instruments
- Detailed site documentation
- Tower placement/configuration
- Data monitoring
- Tower painting
- Anchor load testing
- Custom lattice tower booms
What is a met tower?
A Meteorological Tower gathers hard data from a potential wind farm site.
How tall is a met tower?
The majority of towers are 200′ tall.
How long does it take to put up a met tower?
Typically with travel time, our team spends about three days putting up one tower.
What does a met tower do?
A Meteorological (Met) Tower gathers wind data from the potential wind farm site. Sure, it might be windy there, but it’s going to take more convincing than that to get funding from an investor or a loan from the bank. This data is used to conduct feasibility studies to help with that convincing. This data also goes into complex computer models in WindPRO, a software which EAPC Wind Energy is the North American sales and support agent for.
WindPRO combines that data with topographical maps, orography (roughness of the ground), and set back areas such as property lines or noise sensitive areas. This way, we can find the most efficient possible layout for the future, permanent wind farm as well as the best turbine brand and model to use on the site that will keep maintenance issues to a minimum and efficiency to a maximum.
Where do met towers go?
We generally have an idea of where the client and/or our meteorologists want the tower to go. Upon entering the site, we confirm that it’s a suitable location and that it’s representative of the average wind in the area; not up on the highest hill and not in a low spot.
How do you put up a met tower?
The tower comes in several sections that are about 8′ long. We lay the tower sections out end to end from the baseplate past one set of anchors. Next we set up a shorter 50’ pole, called the gin pole, that is used as a lever to lift the tower. The guy wires on one side of the tower have splices at fixed lengths that hook to the gin pole, and then we use a 9000 pound rated electric winch that connects to two deep cycle marine batteries. The gin pole goes up in the air first and eventually the front side guy wires tighten up and start lifting the tower. We pre-lift the tower to about 20 degrees to check that everything looks right, ensure the anchors are holding, and to settle all of the tower sections together.
Our next step is to pull a tape along the tower and mark the heights where the instruments will go. We attach the aviation light, lightning rod, instrument booms, and then install the instruments. Working from the top down, we lift the tower slightly higher as we go. As we move down the tower, we wrap the instrument cables and copper grounding wire around the tower in a spiral pattern and then tape them to the tower every 4’ or so with electrical tape to keep them secured. Our typical tower has 7 anemometers (they measure wind speed) and 3 wind vanes as well as a temperature sensor and a barometric pressure sensor.
We test the instruments one last time before we start the final lift to ensure they are working. As we lift the tower, we have to periodically adjust the side guys to keep the tower straight. When the tower is all the way up, we plumb it. If the tower is not straight, the instruments won’t be level and won’t spin true to measure speed and direction accurately.
Next we hook up the logger and ipack at the bottom of the tower. The logger is a small and simple computer that reads incoming data from the instruments, storing it to a memory card. The ipack is a cellular or satellite modem which periodically emails data from the tower to us and/or the owner.
The key to this process is extremely detailed documentation; instrument and tower heights to the centimeter, having detailed calibration statistics for all the instruments, proper boom orientation, good location coordinates, and lots of pictures.
We work mainly in ND, SD, MN, MT, WY, IA, NE, ID, and Manitoba
If you’re doing things right and making sure your equipment is in good working order, it’s not a dangerous job!
The look on peoples’ faces when they find out how little time and equipment it takes to put up a 200′ tower.
“One rewarding experience took place in central North Dakota where we took down some towers that had been up for several years. We met an employee of the client on a Wednesday evening to give him some equipment.
Commenting on the two towers on our trailer he said, ‘Two already? And you only started on Monday? How many guys are in your crew?’ We replied, ‘Just the two of us.’ In disbelief he said, ‘Oh c’mon! You’re pulling my leg. Where’s the other guys?’
Then we explained that we’d already taken two towers to Bismarck and these were the third and fourth towers of the week. The look on his face was priceless!”
Dick Schultz, Wind Energy Technician