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.
Articles filed under Structural Failure from Europe
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."