Among the lies pedalled by the wind industry is that wind turbines run on the smell of an oily rag and last for more than 25 years.
The pitch is made to beguile the gullible (read, ‘planning authorities’, ‘politicians’, ‘bankers’ and ‘investors’) into believing that their operating costs can be covered out of petty cash – which fits with the other great line about there being nothing as ‘free’ as the wind.
Mechanical wear and tear, including bearing failure is one of the most common reasons for turbines to be put out of action; and is one of the key factors that accounts for the fact that the ‘economic’ life of wind turbines is 10-12 years, which runs contrary to wild claims about them lasting for “25-plus years” (see our post here and this paper).
Top flight German turbine maker, Siemens booked a €223 million write down (ie loss) in 2014 due to the fact it had to replace bearings in a fleet of turbines that were less than 2 years old.
Siemens talking about the loss said: “The charge is related to inspecting and replacing bearings due to the early degradation in certain turbine models. We believe this is related to recent batches of bearings and we are in discussions with the supplier” (see our post here).
And Siemens’ ‘luck’ has been no better in the US, where its – barely-out-of-nappies – turbines literally fell apart in the Californian desert: 2 Year Old Siemens Turbines Falling Apart: Wind Farm Investors, Get Out While You Can
Siemens aren’t having any better luck closer to home.
In Denmark, the Ørsted offshore wind farm at Anholt was completed in 2013. Barely 5 years later and the turbines’ blades are so worn out that hundreds of them need to be dismantled, returned to dry land and repaired.
Offshore Wind Fiasco: Renewables Industry Faces $Billions in Compensation for Early Repairs
The Global Warming Policy Forum
23 February 2018
Ørsted must repair up to 2,000 wind turbine blades because the leading edge of the blades have become worn down after just a few years at sea.
The company has a total of 646 wind turbines from Siemens Gamesa, which may potentially be affected to some extent, Ørsted confirmed.
The wind turbine owner will not disclose the bill, but says that the financial significance is “small”.
Siemens Gamesa also does not want to comment on the costs, but the company’s Danish subsidiary has just provided 4.5 billion Danish Krone ($750 million) or 16% of its revenue to guarantee its commitments. […]
Ørsted’s problems mean, among other things, that almost 300 blades at its offshore wind farm at Anholt have to be taken down after just a few years of operation, sailed ashore and transported to Siemens Gamesa’s factory in Aalborg.
However, it is far from just the Anholt Park that is affected. The blades at several British Ørsted offshore wind farms must also be repaired after just a few years on the water.
The total bill is uncertain, but according to Finans’s information, the manufacturer’s warranty typically covers the first five years. However, there has been disagreement between Ørsted and Siemens Gamesa as to whether the problems are covered by the guarantee or are a case of ordinary wear and tear.
The Global Warming Policy Forum (full post in Danish)
As Jo Nova put it:
We are trying to collect dilute erratic energy, spread over hundreds of square kilometers in windy, salty, and wet conditions with machines that’s blade tips spin at 330km/hour. What could possibly go wrong?