The prototype of a self-erecting wind turbine tower and Turbine Lifting Platform (TLP) has been built in Nebraska.VALLEY, Nebraska, US, 2002-01-04 [SolarAccess.com] The 200-foot structure has been designed by Valmont Industries Inc to be built without the use of a large crane and to lower the cost of wind power. The TLP has been demonstrated by lifting a Vestas V-47 660 kW turbine into place on top of the structure. “With the advent of our innovative design, we are seeing renewed interest in developing sites with excellent wind resources that were previously considered impractical because they were inaccessible to large cranes,” says senior vice president Robert Meaney. He “firmly believes in a positive future for wind energy and the design has created an innovative wind energy support structure that addresses the industry’s need to place larger turbines on taller towers.” The structure design and turbine lifting system is intended to address challenges posed by the practical limitations of current wind tower designs. The structure is modular and composed of sections of manageable size, which Meaney says has several advantages, including reduced shipping and construction costs and expanded corrosion protection options. Because the structure is self-erecting, Valmont claims that installation can be completed using small cranes, resulting in construction of narrower roads and no need for crane pads. It says the non-tapered main shaft is supported by a pair of legs that reduce the overall un-braced portion of the structure to half of a conventional wind pole design, allowing for taller structures with larger turbines that can be constructed on rough terrain. The 63 m model features a 64″ uniform shaft diameter with a wall thickness of 5/8″, which allows each section of the tower structure to meet standard shipping restrictions for weight. The modular design makes it possible for each section of the structure to fit within a standard 40 foot shipping container or on a standard flatbed trailer, avoiding over length transportation. The custom-designed mobile TLP acts as a giant elevator to lift the turbine and rotors into place, eliminating the need for a large crane. Valmont says a tower and turbine can be installed at night or in winds of 35 miles per hour. The prototype was introduced at the American Wind Energy Association conference earlier this year.