Mass Blade Fail Means Early ‘Retirement’ for Hundreds of Danish Wind Turbines

Offshore wind turbines have the lifespan of a gnat in summer.


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?

Early retirement in an industry that was never designed to last.

17 thoughts on “Mass Blade Fail Means Early ‘Retirement’ for Hundreds of Danish Wind Turbines

  1. I know it has nothing to do with the failure of the turbine, but I did notice the VG’s (vortex generators) were installed incorrectly. They were placed in the wrong location on the blade.

  2. 3 months ago, I saw a documentary about these wind turbines and the risk of collapse of any number of them. And now one of them breaks. Quite a coincidence since in the documentary, they talk about the cracking of the grouting between the base of the turbines and the steel underwater base pipe. And as that happens with one of the turbines, followed by any number of other turbines, the turbine will sink into the space where the grouting once was. Then short of closing the gap completely, relatively small narrow brackets in the base of the turbine will settle on the steel base pipe. Since the brackets are not designed to hold the turbine in place on the steel base pipe, they will break soon or later and then there will be absolutely no support on the side around between the base of the turbine and the steel base pipe. And the entire turbine will just fall over. Once that happens to one of the turbines, others will soon follow. They also say that repairing the turbines would cost 82 million (U.S.) dollars… Each!

  3. Nuclear power is the only technology that can claim 50 to 80 years of operational life in existing plants. Future meltdown proof designs will last even longer with no long lived weapons waste namely plutonium. The US Congress has several bills in process to build these advanced designs in the USA however the States need to support their siting in the footprints of closed coal plants. NIMBYism should not be an issue since the brownfield coal sites need to be cleaned up any way.

    1. Korea is anti wind. Not only bees killed. This is caused by infra sound at blade tips. People get sick too.

      Perhaps we should employ our ever growing mountains and seas of waste .. reduce plastics back to oil, harvest the methane from biowaste .. burn these to produce steam and power.. Start cleaning up the mess we’ve made so far…
      Solar mirrors produce power 24/7, too easy!!
      We Have the Ways!!! Sadly Not the Will!!

      1. “Solar mirrors produce power 24/7” wait, what??? what about the part when the sun is not shining on them???

    1. California … 15,000 of these toys produce 1% of their flower power.

      The cost output ratio??? Con me!!

    2. Nicolai Tesla found the answer a hundred years ago.. little money in that! Big oil and motor killed that..

  4. i have been in machining metals and electronics for 50 years now and never saw anything so badly designed as windmills. these mechanical monsters were deemed obsolete in the 70s but someone figured out how to sell pollution intensive junk to the dumbed down masses. now there is a cheap easy way to bring these down if they’re killing wildlife or messing with your head due to low frequency thumps. a little more info and i will have a mix that hardens the steel by just contact with a section. hard steel starts cracks and the twisting motions makes it go faster. look to steel hardeners like carbon to bring down a windmill and you do not need to spend even a minute at the site.

    1. As ever mushrooms are fed and kept in the dark .. in a world run by children, one expects no less.

  5. Here in Ontario we are just beginning to see the early failures of wind turbines and their components…our oldest wind turbines are about 15 years old, so stand by!

  6. Perhaps Tim Flannery who sits on the Siemens Sustainability Advisory Board should come clean, tap into his mammalian expertise and let them know that their turbines are really white elephants?

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