Faulty Turbines Sending Siemen’s Wind Power Division Broke as Samsung Cuts & Runs from Europe

siemens-turbines

Not bearing up to the strain …

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German fan maker, Siemens has been running a huge propaganda campaign in South Australia over the last couple of weeks, surrounding the opening of the extension of the Snowtown wind farm – wheeling in Australia’s 2011 Tour de France winner, Cadel Evans as their pet-pedal-powered mascot.

And its highly paid wind farm ambassador, Tim Flannery – Australia’s world-renowned (but self-appointed) long-range weather forecaster – has been on the front foot in the press in recent weeks screaming about imminent “global incineration”. Tim’s “solution”? Why more giant (Siemens) fans, of course!

Not that he makes much noise about it, but Tim sits on Siemen’s Sustainability Advisory Board and – true to the title – has been working flat-out to “sustain” Siemen’s ability to flog its fans in Australia – with a mix of hysterical hectoring and overweening political pressure – all built around the mystical ability of wind turbines to suck CO2 out of the sky and drop world temperatures on a made-to-measure basis. A bit like a heavenly thermostat, apparently.

Although, being a loyal and faithful servant of his German masters, Tim hasn’t limited himself to just being Siemen’s top fan salesman. Oh no – Siemens is in the Carbon Capture & Storage business – so Tim took to spruiking the merits of CCS as only a recent “convert” could.

This little “switcheroo” required Tim to bury his hitherto well-publicised revulsion to coal:

Interviewed in 2007, he likened the coal industry – which employs thousands of Australians and provides the vast majority of our cheap power generation – to those that had sold asbestos. He also argued their ‘social license to operate’ should be withdrawn. A year before, he wrote that ‘the old coal clunkers need to be closed as quickly as possible’ and proposed that they be replaced with hitherto unproven technologies like geothermal and wave energy (see this article for more).

One thing’s for sure, this boy knows how to sing for his supper!

Tim – an expert on extinct giant Australian marsupials – and obviously the first person you’d call when it came to water management issues – predicted right throughout one of Australia’s frequent, prolonged droughts – that it would be “hotter and drier forever”.

flummery

OK – I got it completely wrong – “my bad” – as they say.

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Check out his doomsday interview with Maxine McKew in 2005 – here – a classic example of how being wedded to a delusional belief in “Catastrophic Global Warming” overtakes history and science all in one breath.   He kept that rubbish up – right until the floods started in Queensland on New Year’s day, 2009 (it kept bucketing down right through to May that year) – and returned with a vengeance in  December 2010 –  totally normal La Nina related flooding events – preceding the three wettest years (on average) recorded since white settlement. In 2013, Adelaide – in the driest State – recorded one of its wettest Julys ever. Onya Tim!

If it was just a bit of good-ol-fashioned shamanism, you might forgive Tim for his over-blown rantings – but his doomsday drought prophecies came with a multi-$billion price-tag. Tim warned that Australian cities would all die of thirst: the “solution”? Massive desalination plants for Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide (all bar Perth’s were mothballed, no sooner than the concrete had set). Thanks Tim!

But this wasn’t all wasted effort on Tim’s part. Oh no, through his “it’s desal or death” mantra Tim was able to help “sustain” Siemens – it bagged a very big slice of the desal plant action.

But Tim may need to think about where his next meal is coming from, as his paymaster’s wind power division hits the wall. Not only did Siemens find itself in huge strife being convicted of bribery and corruption – leading to hundreds of $millions in fines (see our post here) – its wind turbine arm is losing money hand-over-fist. The problem?: Siemens turbines are suffering catastrophic bearing and blade failures, requiring urgent, wholesale replacements. Here’s Reuters setting out a little of Siemen’s escalating financial woes.

Turbine faults cost Siemens €223million
Wind Power Monthly
Patrick Smith
6 November 2014

GERMANY: Costs related to faulty wind turbines have hit Siemens’ results, forcing the wind division into a loss for both the fourth quarter and 2014.

The German manufacturer said it was impacted by EUR 223 million in charges for inspecting and replacing main bearings in onshore turbines, as well as repairing blades on both onshore and offshore turbines.

Head of the Siemens energy business Lisa Davis said: “The charge is related to inspecting and replacing bearings due to the early degredation in certain turbine models. We believe this is related to recent batches of bearings and we are in discussions with the supplier.”

She said that the blade degredation was due to “harsh weather conditions both onshore and offshore”. She added that Siemens has “implemented a design change for leading edge protection” for new blades and will be implementing a “similar retrofit” for existing blades.

These faults resulted in a loss for the wind division of EUR 66 million in the quarter to the end of September. This compares with a profit of EUR 179 million a year before. Revenue remained steady at EUR 1.62 billion.

For the year, the division made a loss of EUR 15 billion, compared to a profit of EUR 306 billion despite a 6% increase in revenue to EUR 5.5 billion.

Siemens has previously had issues with faulty blades and bearings. Blade breakages on a number of onshore turbines last year caused the curtailment of 700 turbines worldwide. And in 2010, the company was forced to carry out maintenance work on four offshore wind farms after it was discovered the bearings in the 3.6MW turbines’ were corroding.

In addition to the write down due to turbine faults in the latest quarter, the wind division’s performance was adversely affected by a lower profit contribution from the higher margin offshore business. The division’s margin slumped from 11.1% to negative 4% in the latest quarter.
Wind Power Monthly

One of the wilder claims made by the wind industry and its parasites is that wind power production costs will inevitably fall (sometime over the next space-time-continuum, apparently) – some fantasists even go so far as to claim that wind power is already cheaper to deliver than coal and gas-fired power – as to which, see our post here.

However, the fact that Siemen’s turbines – barely out of the factory – need wholesale bearing and blade replacement doesn’t bode well for claims that wind power production costs fall over time: a line that’s proved to be nothing more than hot air – as blades continue to fracture; and bearings, generators and gearboxes wear out twice as fast as predicted (see our post here). And more and more turbines spontaneously combust (see our post here). The cost of replacement is phenomenal (see our post here).

Bearings: The Achilles Heel of Wind Turbines
wattsupwiththat.com
Eric Worrall
26 August 2014

A few years ago, I used to know a senior wind turbine engineer. One evening, over a few beers, he told me the dirty secret of his profession:

“The problem is the bearings. If we make the bearings bigger, the bearings last longer, but making the bearings larger increases friction, which kills turbine efficiency. But we can’t keep using the current bearings – replacing them is sending us broke. What we need is a quantum leap in bearing technology – bearing materials which are at least ten times tougher than current materials.”

At the time there was very little corroborating online material available to support this intriguing comment – but evidence seems to be accumulating that bearings are a serious problem for the wind industry.

Siemens citing bearing failures as part of the reason for a substantial fall in profit:
http://www.offshorewind.biz/2014/05/07/siemens-energy-division-profit-down-54-pct/

In the announcement of the opening of a new Siemens research facility:
http://www.greenoptimistic.com/2013/03/19/siemens-wind-turbine-research/
“… The Brande test center would evaluate the main parts of their wind turbines such as main bearings …”

http://www.geartechnology.com/newsletter/0112/drives.htm (an attempt to make direct drive turbines, to reduce bearing wear) “… More accurately, it is typically the bearings within the gearbox that fail, in turn gumming up the gearbox, but that’s a story for another time. …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burbo_Bank_Offshore_Wind_Farm
“… During summer 2010 Siemens decided to change the blade bearings on all 25 turbines as a pre-emptive measure after corrosion was found in blade bearings found on other sites. …”

Of course, there is the occasional video of catastrophic turbine failure:

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And suggestions that the industry is trying to conceal the scale of the turbine fire problem:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2695266/Wind-turbine-fire-risk-Number-catch-alight-year-ten-times-higher-industry-admits.html

All of which creates an interesting question – just how much of our money is the government prepared to waste, to keep their wind dream afloat? If the costs are far greater than the industry admits, how long is the wind industry going to carry that additional hidden cost, before they try to push the costs onto taxpayers, or abandon wind technology altogether?:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2116877/Is-future-Britains-wind-rush.html

Wattsupwiththat.com

runaway train lone ranger

Wind industry gravy train hits a spot of bother.

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Meanwhile, in yet another sign the wheels are falling off of the wind industry’s gravy train, Korean fan maker, Samsung has pulled the plug on its European operations; and appears set to abandon major projects on its home turf.

Samsung winds down European wind activities
Wind Power Monthly
Patrick Smith
16 October

SOUTH KOREA: Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) has shut two of its wind energy offices in Europe and is downsizing its wind business in Korea.

A spokesperson confirmed that SHI has shut down wind activities at its Hamburg and London offices, but denied that the company was pulling out of wind altogether.

“We are now downsizing the [wind] business based on our new strategy. It has not been closed down,” she said. The company refused to comment further.

A source within the company said that SHI would still explore opportunities in Europe, but was unable to define what those activities would be.

Windpower Monthly reported in June that SHI was initiating a review of its offshore activities in Europe.

The London office had been the base for the marketing of the 7MW offshore turbine, a prototype of which started operating in Scotland earlier this year. SHI said that the ship building division would continue to operate out of the London office.

While the spokesperson said that the offshore project is still alive, she was unable to point to any activity concerning plans to take the turbine into production.

Windpower Monthly spoke to a number of Korean employees that had been moved from their previous positions in the wind division to roles in the shipbuilding business.

Several employees said that SHI was winding down the division entirely, but the company said that this is merely a “rumour”.

The fate of the 7MW prototype at the Fife Energy Park in Scotland is unclear. A spokesperson for Fife council, which is running the project in conjunction with Scottish Enterprise, said that activities are continuing to certify the turbine. SHI said it is still operating an office at the energy park.

SHI also had plans to construct the 84MW Daejeong offshore wind project in South Korea, but it is not known whether it will go ahead with the development.
Wind Power Monthly

dirtyrottenscoundrelsoriginal

This couldn’t be happening to a “nicer” bunch of lads …

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Crispin Trist says:

    I quite enjoyed Tim Flannery in “Two Men in a Tinnie”.

    That was until one of Tim’s beloved Wind Factories was erected here at Cape Bridgewater in Southwest Victoria. Sorry Tim, but ever since this little slice of heaven was completely annihilated by Pacific Hydro’s massive turbines, I cannot bring myself to watch anything that you present on television anymore. The trouble is you are not impartial. You broke the golden rule of television.

    Please follow the link below to my short film.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=u6_ndrRnccw

    • Vic Wright says:

      Watching (listening) to that video has had a more pronounced effect on me, than the case history stories of the abuse people suffer from these Fans. I’m not belittling the case histories, just noting the effect a video can have. Suggestion – More videos out there amongst voters and of course retire Tim to Mars.

      P.S. I do not live anywhere near one of these Fans.

      • We think that these types of recordings are good for before and after comparisons. Something so simple that even a judge can understand. Only problem is that it is hard to record the impact of the pressure waves with a video.

  2. Another one of Tim’s favourite green power boondoggles along the way has been geothermal power. For some time he promoted the idea that Australia could be powered by geothermal power, “hot rocks” technology. That went well, the $90M the Rudd Government “invested” in geothermal power developer Geodynamics (in which Flannery was a shareholder) predictably went the way of the Dodo. The following excerpt is from a Herald Sun article of February 2011, sheds some light on that sorry saga:

    We should switch to “green” power instead, said Flannery, who recommended geothermal – pumping water on to hot rocks deep underground to create steam.

    “There are hot rocks in South Australia that potentially have enough embedded energy in them to run Australia’s economy for the best part of a century,” he said.

    “The technology to extract that energy and turn it into electricity is relatively straightforward.”

    Flannery repeatedly promoted this “straightforward” technology, and in 2009, the Rudd government awarded $90 million to Geodynamics to build a geothermal power plant in the Cooper Basin, the very area Flannery recommended. Coincidentally, Flannery has for years been a Geodynamics shareholder, a vested interest he sometimes declares.

    Time to check on how that business tip went. Answer: erk.

    The technology Flannery said was “relatively straighforward” wasn’t.

    One of Geodynamics’ five wells at Innamincka collapsed in an explosion that damaged two others. All had to be plugged with cement.

    The project has now been hit by the kind of floods Flannery didn’t predict in a warming world, with Geodynamics announcing work had been further “delayed following extensive local rainfall in the Cooper Basin region”.

    The technological and financing difficulties mean there is no certainty now that a commercial-scale plant will ever get built, let alone prove viable, so it’s no surprise the company’s share price has almost halved in four months.

    Never mind, here comes Flannery with his latest scares and you-beaut fix.

    His job as Climate Commission chief, says Climate Change Minister Greg Combet, is to “provide an authoritative, independent source of information on climate change to the Australian community” and “build the consensus about reducing Australia’s carbon pollution”.

    That, translated, means selling us whatever scheme the Government cooks up to tax carbon dioxide, doing to the economy what the floods have done to Flannery’s hot-rocks investment.

    See why I say Flannery is the right man for this job? Who better to teach us how little we really know about global warming and how much it may cost to panic?

    • Fair comment, Bon on Flannery’s overhyped (self-interested) backing of geothermal. But, to be fair, the work done in the Cooper Basin was not done with the latest drilling (fracking) techniques and equipment being used in the USA. STT hears that American engineers who reviewed the project were critical of the standards of equipment and techniques used, and weren’t surprised it wasn’t a roaring success.

      The Americans are developing “advanced geothermal systems” using fracking techniques to greatly increase the power output from existing sites and to establish new sites, with some success. See these recent Economist articles: http://www.economist.com/news/business/21612193-why-geothermal-new-fracking-hot-rocks

      http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21628216-geothermal-power-sheds-its-hot-spring-roots-head-steam

      STT takes the view that geothermal is worthy of appropriate taxpayer support for research and development, simply because it can provide dispatchable power, available on demand. If it can be developed in Australia to the point of providing market competitive power (without the need for RET/REC support) then why not investigate its full potential? If, after throwing some brains, money and effort at it, it fails to get a decent steam up then it can join the list of failed energy systems. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained. And a success with geothermal would help kill the great wind power fraud, which is what we’re all about!

      • Fair comment STT. Certainly geothermal has the potential to provide dispatchable, low cost, reliable power. In many places geothermal has been exploited as a power source for many years. Many of these current applications have relied on the exploitation of relatively shallow heat resources created by epithermal activity, often associated with active tectonic zones. In our own region NZ is a prime example where this has been possible, as is the Lihir Island PNG gold mine where geothermal power has been exploited for some years.

        I think it’s fair to say that fracking could change the economics of geothermal, potentially making more sites viable. But I don’t believe the development of geothermal power should be based on government hand-outs triggered by the sermons of self-serving Messiahs. Moreover a healthy mix of private venture capital and generous R & D tax concessions would be the way to go – nothing focusses the mind more than having a healthy bit of “skin in the game”. If the concept is a good one all it needs is a level playing field, if it has merit it will survive without mega dollar government hand-outs, without RET subsidy and without a carbon dioxide tax.

  3. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:

    I know engineers that scoff at windmills being hard. They view it as just an engineering problem. Certainly. It is, but engineering problems cost money, and the compromises required to put industrial power production on the top of towers is just never going to compete with other practical ways to produce power. Never. Put a stop to the bird choppers. Mostly, just don’t give them tax money! End all subsidies for every form of “green” and fine them for the damage they do, just like everyone else.

  4. Reblogged this on the WeatherAction News Blog.

  5. Great enginering, hey? They will burn our country out, we want more C02, not less.

  6. Vic Wright says:

    True, Tim’s a regular “long range weather forecaster”, but that’s how he makes his living. It is the gullible politicians, public bureaucrats etc who spent taxpayers money on Tim’s forecasts that should be held responsible. While we allow politicians to get away with acting on these doomsayers advice, the gravy train will continue.

    I’ve just finished Ian Plimer’s book, Not for Greens. If the world’s voters allow this green bunch of delinquent teenagers to continue to dictate government policy throughout the western world, then they should prepare for a massive reversal of living standards back to the age before electricity and the grid. Ultimately it is the voter who has the dice.

Trackbacks

  1. We Don’t Need No Stinking Giant Fans

    GERMANY: Costs related to faulty wind turbines have hit Siemens’ results, forcing the wind division into a loss for both the fourth quarter and 2014. The German manufacturer said it was impacted by EUR 223 million in charges for…

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