Wind power outfits still make wild claims about these things running on the smell of an oily rag and lasting for 25 years or more, needing little more than a hug from time to time. However, the operations and maintenance cost of these things is around $25 per MWh – hardly the zero marginal cost claimed by wind cultists (see our post here).
Gearbox, bearing, generator and blade failures are common features of wind turbine operation; and the cost of replacing and repairing these things has the potential to wipe out profits and shareholder value in a veritable heartbeat, just ask Australia’s most notorious wind power outfit, Infigen (see our post here).
The truth is that wind turbines are lucky to have an economic life of anything more than 10 years (see our post here).
Proof of that fact is not simply limited to the hundreds of these things that have self immolated in fits of spontaneous combustion:
Nor is it limited to the hundreds of them that have lost their battle with gravity:
And the thousands of them that have determined to throw their blades to the four winds:
Oh no, the ability to drop the 60-80 tonnes or so of their hub/blade assemblies from 90m above is well and truly part of their theatrical repertoire, as seen in this example from Germany:
In this story from the Emerald Isle, a fleet of these things in Donegal are determined to retire as mere teenagers; no doubt leaving a band of gullible investors ruing the day.
Concern over condition of Barnesmore wind turbines despite reassurances from owners
8 June 2016
People in the Barnesmore area have voiced concern after it was noticed that the head of a wind turbine was lying on the ground.
Paul Ferguson from Barnesmore windfarm owners Scottish Power Renewables told the Donegal Post / Donegal Now that this was due to planned maintenance work. He said this type of work typically took place over the summer months.
However with the lifespan of a wind turbine estimated to be around 20 years, there are local concerns that the 19 year-old turbines could be at serious risk of damage from wear and tear.
The county has already seen a number of incidents where supposedly safe turbines fell or had a blade break off and travel some distance from the turbine.
One Barnesmore woman who preferred not to be named said: “When they first came here I thought it was a good thing. We were happy to go along with it because it was supposed to be better for the environment and bring the cost of electricity down. Now you see those new giant windmills going up at Leghowney and you wonder how they ever got permission to do that and I don’t see my electricity getting any cheaper.”
The woman said she had been speaking to a neighbour about the new turbines at Meenadreen and he told her: “They’re like big claws, and us the eejits that let them get their big claws into us.”
Windfarm development remains controversial. Advocates say the production of renewable energy far outweighs any visual impact and is vital in reducing greenhouse gas production.
Those opposed say there are other ways to achieve the same goal without the unsightly turbines and the effects on tourism and health.
Whatever way you look at it, Donegal is certainly carrying far more than its fair share of Ireland’s green energy burden.