Articles filed under Structural Failure
After the industry's recent boom years, wind power providers and experts are now concerned. The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting. Gearboxes hiding inside the casings perched on top of the towering masts have short shelf lives, often crapping out before even five years is up. In some cases, fractures form along the rotors, or even in the foundation, after only limited operation. Short circuits or overheated propellers have been known to cause fires. All this despite manufacturers' promises that the turbines would last at least 20 years.
Power-generating wind turbines will soon have to comply with tough new technical standards to ensure they can withstand typhoons, lightning strikes and other extreme weather conditions. Wind-power generation is a major pillar in the government's push to use alternative energy sources to fight global warming. In recent years, however, storms have caused extensive damage to many wind turbines. International standards drawn up in Europe are not sufficient to protect wind turbines from Japan's weather patterns, according to officials of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, an arm of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Rahall's spokeswoman, Allyson Groff, said last week that committee staff already were working on the points of greatest contention - especially the wind provisions. The bill as introduced "was a proposal," she said. "Nothing was set in stone. He wanted to be able to work with the Republicans on this."
SPRINGVIEW, Neb. - In this ranching village near the South Dakota border, there's a Turbine Avenue and a Turbine Mart convenience store and the annual Wind Turbine Days festival. But soon the two wind turbines that inspired those names - the first in Nebraska when they were erected in 1998 - may be coming down. Frequent breakdowns and increasingly expensive repairs are dooming the graceful structures.
Gamesa Inc. on Friday identified a defect in an applicator used to apply a thin Fiberglas layer to wind-turbine blades as the cause of blade splintering and breakage. The blades are manufactured at Gamesa's Ebensburg-area factory.
It all came down to glue. And how it was misapplied by workers. Spanish wind-energy company Gamesa said "insufficient and irregular distribution of glue" caused large pieces to break off seven turbine blades at the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm near Lilly, Cambria County. No one was injured during the mishap in mid-March, but pieces of the blades flew more than 500 feet, according to residents.
Whatever is causing turbine blades made at Gamesa Energy USA near Ebensburg to splinter should be known within weeks, a company representative said Wednesday. Meanwhile, the startup of the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm - which will become Pennsylvania's largest wind farm - will be on hold until the blade investigation is completed, Ellen Lutz, director of development for Gamesa's Atlantic Region, said Wednesday.
DARTMOUTH - One of the many casualties of this weekend's storm was a windmill installed by former state Rep. Mark A. Howland. Arthur Larrivee paid Mr. Howland $16,000 for a windmill and solar panel system for his home at 620 Tucker Road and received everything he asked for: two windmills atop 35-foot-high poles, four solar panels and electrical equipment to convert the power generated into electricity. But on Monday morning, he woke to find that the steel poles of one windmill had snapped clean off about 4 feet above the ground, leaving the windmill lying on the ground. "I honestly couldn't believe it," said Mr. Larrivee, a real estate broker and Republican activist. "It had to be a flaw in the piping."
An Australian company that wants to buy a Cambria County wind farm might walk away if it's not determined what caused seven turbine blades to crack and large pieces of two blades to fly off. The problems at the Allegheny Ridge wind farm are a serious concern, said Neal Emmerton, regional asset manager for Sydney-based Babcock & Brown. Gamesa, the Spanish firm that developed the facility, has been paid, but the deal won't be final until the blade issues are resolved, he said.
Wind-energy experts say incidents such as the splintering of two blades and cracks in five others produced at Gamesa's Cambria Township factory are rare. The American Wind Energy Association views the problem as a fluke, an anomaly that turned up in a time-proven industry involving a highly respected company. "We haven't heard of anything like this before. There have been thousands of blades installed, and this is a first," said Christine Real-de-Azua, spokeswoman for the wind energy national trade association, based in Washington, D.C. "Offhand, this doesn't seem like a big issue. We haven't heard of any other problems."
The Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm's phase one startup has been put on hold because some of Gamesa's locally made blades are chipping apart. Gamesa officials, who met with Portage and Washington township officials Wednesday for the go-ahead on a second phase, said they found issues with seven blades after realizing two of them splintered on the towers. They had hoped to have the first phase online by the end of the month. "The structure of the blade was intact in most places ... it somehow split open and fell," said Alberto Gros Isla, the plant's manager. It wasn't the blades that fell; rather, it was a "thin fiberglass skin" that coated them, he said. One piece stretched the length of the 147-foot-blade, and another was at least 20 feet long, Gros Isla said.
Repair work is due to begin this week on a wind farm off the coast of Kent which has seen a third of its turbines grind to a halt since early December. Of the 36 turbines erected off Herne Bay - on the Kentish Flats - 12 have experienced gearbox problems. Four have been repaired but the others have been running at reduced efficiency pending a break in the weather. The Danish firm Vestas, which owns and maintains them, said the high failure rate was unusual.
HIGASHIDORI, Aomori Prefecture–The industry ministry Wednesday said it is trying to determine what caused a 68-meter-high wind turbine to collapse earlier this week since strong winds apparently were not blowing at the time. The incident at the Iwaya Wind Farm in the Iwaya district of Higashidori in this northern prefecture is thought to have occurred late Monday, according to officials of Eurus Energy Holdings Corp., which manages the wind farm. While no one was injured, the incident resulted in temporary power outages to homes in the area because power lines were severed.
The talk in the local community is that five of the 12 turbines at Toora are now shut down because of equipment failure, the warrantee period has expired and they can't get parts. This wind farm is not particularly old and it's now limping along with a 42% reduction in power output. It's probably a good time to get this junk off the Toora hills....... This mucking around with turbines all adds to the cost of something that is nothing more than a hoax, which would all be pretty funny if it wasn't subsidised by the public purse.
The fire was caused by burning debris from a wind turbine that caught fire due to a malfunction.
To continue its rapid growth, wind energy must overcome some major hurdles in the next few years. Market development in the United States is strongly dependent on the federal PTCs, which for now must be periodically renewed by Congress.
PRINCETON — On February 21, when Princeton Light Department Manager Jonathan Fitch drove over Westminster Road to check on the windmills, he got an unpleasant surprise.
Great Yarmouth, England. Vestas faces another offshore calamity with faulty turbines in the British Scroby Sands farm. Defects have been found in a bearing of the gearboxes of 18 of the 30 V80 machines, the president of Vestas Northern Europe, Tom Pedersen, has confirmed. This is only a year and a half after Vestas was in the headlines with serious flaws in its machines in the Horns Rev farm off the western coast of Denmark. The transformers and generators of all 80 V80 turbines had to be dismantled and repaired on land - at a cost of millions for the world wind industry leader.Pedersen says as a precaution the relevant bearings will be exchanged in all 30 of the Scroby Sands turbines installed in 2003. No such problems were to be expected with North Hoyle, the UK's first major offshore wind farm, inaugurated in November 2003, because the V80 machines installed there have different types of gears, says Pedersen. But damage to bearings similar to that now found at Scroby Sands had occurred in some turbines in the USA and the cause is still being investigated, he added. In addition to the bearings, five generators have to be replaced in Scroby Sands. Pedersen said they'd be taken apart to find the cause. Vestas is lucky inasmuch as the repairs can be done at sea without the nacelles having to be taken down. Weather permitting, the repair campaign is to be completed shortly."This is no new Horns Rev," assures Vestas man Pedersen. But it's still a bad time for his company to be in the news again with damaged components. As recently as the end of November, Vestas shocked its investors with yet another profit warning, explained as partially due to quality flaws in the products of suppliers."Our philosophy 'failure is not an option' must also be implemented by our suppliers,"' Vestas CEO, Ditlev Engel, emphasised in an interview with us a few weeks ago (new energy 6/2005). Now the resolute manager can show sooner than he probably bargained for how he intends to assert that principle.
"Most windfarms are near roads, railways, or walking paths, and the dangers are obvious."
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho Blades on two turbines at the Wolverine Creek wind farm have snapped, forcing crews to shut them down for repairs.