Annual wind turbine blade failures estimated at around 3,800

blade_breakWind Power Monthly, Shaun Campbell
The figures, from research carried out by renewable energy undewriter GCube, were delivered by Andrew Bellamy, former head of Areva’s 8MW blade programme, in his opening address to Windpower Monthly’s blade manufacturing and composites conference in London on 12 May.

Bellamy, co-founder of renewables advisory firm Aarufield, pointed out that blade failures are the primary cause of insurance claims in the US onshore market. They account for over 40% of claims, ahead of gearboxes (35%) and generators (10%).

The wind industry also faces a struggle to secure the carbon fibre materials it needs for lighter and stronger blade designs, warned Bellamy.

“There’s growing competition for these materials from the automotive and aerospace industries,” he said. “And they are willing, and able, to pay more than we are.”

Recent examples of blade failures include a blade from a Vestas V90 3MW turbine that snapped on a wind farm in the north of Denmark last year. At the time, Vestas said the winds were not particularly high. Read article

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