Wind Farm Rotor Failures

A recent report, The Performance of Wind Farms in the United Kingdom and Denmark, indicated a shorter life for wind turbines than the predicted 20-year life.  See March 5 article, Bad News for Wind Energy.

There is a wind farm in western New York State consisting of 67 turbines that have been in operation for around three years.

Recently there have been several units shut down while 10 blades were repaired. If each came from a different turbine it would mean the wind farm was producing 10% less electricity than planned while the turbines were out of service. It could also support the contention that the life of wind farms will be less than planned.

Wind farm in New York State. 2013
Wind farm in New York State. 2013

 

An engineer who worked with me at General Electric witnessed the repair work and provided pictures and a description of the repairs.

Rotor blade on ground showing manhole cover for entry to blade. 2013
Rotor blade on ground showing manhole cover for entry to blade. 2013

 

When cracks can’t be repaired by using a crane to hoist a repairman to where the damage can be repaired while the blades are attached to the tower, the 120 foot long blade is lowered to the ground.

Crack in rotor blade. 2013
Crack in rotor blade. 2013

 

Cracks like this are ground out. Then fiberglass is laid over the crack, with resin and more fiberglass added until the blade is restored to prescribed dimensions. The repairman then crawls inside the blade, by removing the bolted-on manhole cover, and repeats the process on the blade’s interior.

The process is much like repairing a fiberglass boat.

Crack repair in progress. 2013
Crack repair in progress. 2013

 

This picture provides a perspective on the size of the blade and the extensiveness of the crack.

The underlying issue is whether wind farms will last the predicted 20 years, and whether they will need constant remedial work.

Wind-generated electricity is already very expensive, and could become even more so.

*  *  *  *  *  *

 

These articles can be delivered directly to your mailbox. Subscribe by clicking below the photo on the right side of the article where it says email subscription, and entering your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

If you know someone who would be interested in these articles you can send him/her a link to the article and suggest he/she subscribes by clicking on the email subscription link under the picture on the right side of the page, and entering their email address.

To find earlier articles, click on the name of the preceding month below the calendar to display a list of articles published in that month. Continue clicking on the name of the preceding month to display articles published in prior months.

© Power For USA, 2010 – 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears, LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

(39)

Please follow and like us: