Tom Dyffort, Managing Director, AltitecTom Dyffort, Managing Director
The 2016 Paris Agreement (COP 21) was a pivotal moment in human history. For the first time, nearly every nation on the planet came together to acknowledge the adversary called climate change and take a stand against it. Ever since the international treaty was signed, and the participating countries have considerably been investing in alternative energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and control global warming.
Among these renewable energy sources, wind energy has quickly become a popular choice, as a single wind turbine can produce far more energy than an individual photovoltaic panel. In fact, its popularity only increased with time. Even during the Black Swan event of the COVID-19 outbreak, many countries continued to install more than 93 GW wind power farms—both onshore and offshore. And there’s thus no doubt that wind energy is the hot new trend in the clean energy arena.

But as different government and public entities keep entering and moving deeper into the trenches of the wind energy sources, they are also realising that it is not only about installing new wind farms and turbines. They also need to take the maintenance and longevity of these wind turbines into consideration. Because, if the energy production cost from renewable sources surpasses the cost of fossil fuels, it would eventually lead to reduced acceptance among the end-consumers. Interestingly, the company that is now helping private and public wind farms shed the worry of wind turbine maintenance is Altitec, a respected global specialist in wind turbine rotor blade access, inspection, and repair services.

To this end, Altitec combines its blade engineering and on-site technical expertise with popular ascenders and rotor blade access systems and supports its clients run their wind farms efficiently, reducing turbine downtime and operator cost. This laser focus on rotor blades puts Altitec ahead of those who cater to inspection and repair services of machinery for different renewable energy sources. “As a proud carbon-neutral company, we see ourselves at the forefront of changing the world’s energy supply,” says Tom Dyffort, managing director of Altitec.

Altitec makes rotor blade inspection an easy feat for its clients through the use of ground-based telescopic blade scanning technologies and innovative aerial technologies such as unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) or drones. If Altitec finds any issue with the rotor blades during the initial inspection, the company uses the market-leading powered rope ascender system ‘ActSafe Ascenders’ and Käufer rotor blade access platforms—one of the most advanced means of accessing wind turbines—to facilitate its high-quality blade repair services. While the ActSafe Ascender helps the maintenance professionals easily and securely climb the length of the turbine, the Käufer platform offers them a stable stand for completing the servicing work.

It is also important to note that Altitec’s integrity, impartiality, and service competence in the domain of clean energy have earned the company numerous accreditations such as ISO 9001 and 45001, DNV GL, GWO (for blade repair training), Achilles UVDB (the highest hygiene safety standard), PAS 2016 (the British Standard for achieving carbon neutrality), and more.
“Our services conform to international best practice and standards, making our repair and maintenance quality top-notch,” avers Claudia Gomez, business development manager of Altitec.

As a proud carbon-neutral company, we see ourselves at the forefront of changing the world’s energy supply

Making this all possible is Altitec’s team of more than 75 technicians and engineers with extensive experience and technical expertise gained from working across four continents. This team of experts is now raising Altitec to the peak of its success. “Thanks to our team, we can deliver high-quality maintenance work for turbines of various sizes and power capacity. We can even repair old turbines that have been operating for more than 15 years,” underscores Claudia.

Elaborating further on the benefits clients receive upon partnering with Altitec, Dyffort shares a recent success story. In this particular instance, Altitec has partnered with Siemens Gamesa—a leader in the renewable energy industry and manufacturer of leading-edge wind turbines. The goal of this partnership was to set up one of the largest offshore wind farms in the UK at the time. As part of the partnership, Altitec helped Siemens Gamesa with internal rotor lightning protection system repairs and upgraded the leading-edge erosion protection of the wind turbines. “Working together with one of the largest wind farms and managing multiple teams in a challenging offshore environment is one of our greatest achievements,” extols Dyffort.

In addition to such best-in-class services and outstanding success stories, Altitec also acknowledges the impending shortage of qualified blade repair teams for its clients. As Dyffort points out, with the number of wind turbine installations increasing, many wind farms are now expected to witness a record demand for qualified rotor blade technicians. Altitec thus offers GWO Blade Repair Training for aspiring rotor blade technicians and engineers through its Altitec Academy. The main idea of these training modules is to bring inexperienced rotor blade technicians up to the current speed of development in the wind energy sector. Notably, Altitec’s unique hands-on courses are backed by over 10 years of experience in the wind industry and run by Altitec’s expert lead technicians and engineers at the company’s GWO training centres in London, Cape Town, and Melbourne. In the GWO Blade Repair course, technicians and engineers are taught the foundational skills essential to properly perform and document inspections, and repairs to rotor blade surfaces, and more.

Moving forward, Altitec is currently focusing on local as well as global expansion. Dyffort shares that Altitec is experiencing a lot of growth potential in the Australian and South African countries. At the same time, there has been considerable growth in the current UK, along with the British Islands and Europe, all thanks to new offshore wind turbines popping up in these markets, their maintenance will be pertinent in the next decades,” adds Dyffort. “And we are perfectly positioned to play a constructive role in these maintenance projects and bring forth a positive change all across the world.”