Windpower specialist Vestas India is using two new Liebherr LR1600/2 crawler cranes owned by heavy-lift specialist Shethia Erectors & Material Handlers Ltd of Mumbai to erect four wind turbines at a site in Gujarat.

Two Liebherr LR1600/2 crawler cranes are being used by wind power specialist Vestas to erect four windmills at a site in Kutch District of Gujarat in India.

The 600t capacity cranes are owned by heavy-lift rental specialist Shethia Erectors & Material Handlers Ltd of Mumbai and were supplied new by the mobile cranes division of Liebherr India Pvt Ltd, earlier this year.

India’s wind potential is huge and supportive government policy at both national and state levels mean that wind power is seen as a key ingredient of the country’s future energy mix.

The Gujarat state government has recently unveiled a new policy to encourage solar and wind energy development. Half the area of Kutch, one of India’s largest districts is desert, scrub and marshland, and in recent years has become home to a large number of wind farms.

Liebherr Crawler Crane at Indian Windfarm Site Liebherr Crawler Crane at Indian Windfarm Site

Denmark-based Vestas has been in India since 1997, and employs almost 1,000 people there. Headquartered in Chennai, Vestas produces 600 turbines a year to a completely modular design, the units being trucked to the site where they are assembled.

To date nine windmills with 1.8MW capacity have been installed at Vandhiya by Vestas India and will form a 16.2 MW wind farm on a high plain of scrubland where there are already a number of other wind farms.

These turbines will be connected by an internal 33 kV overhead line which in turn would be connected to 33 kV/132 kV and 33 kV/220 kV switchgear substations at Surajbari and Jangi respectively.

Liebherr Crawler Crane at Indian Windfarm Site
Vestas India’s construction manager on the site, Shashikant Tiwari, says that erecting each windmill takes 3-4 days at the maximum, although two days is achieved under the most favourable conditions.

“The height of the turbine is 95m,” he says. “The boom on the crane is 96m, and we have a 12m fly jib that gives us a comfortable 108m to work with.”

Mr Tiwari adds that the windmill tower is in four units, the first weighing 68t, the second 67t, the third 42t and the last section weighs 24t.

“Lifting these into position with the Liebherr is a straightforward operation,” he says. “The heaviest part of the windmill is the Nacelle and hub mounted together, which weighs 99t, but again the crane has no difficulty in lifting and positioning this.

“The three blades each weighs around 6t, and are lifted one by one and fitted into the hub once the nacelle erection is completed.”

He confirms that the first crane arrived on site late February with the second arriving in March; following the Bauma India exhibition. The first phase of the project comprising nine turbines has been completed and the cranes have been deployed to another wind farm project which will have 63 turbines in the same area.
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