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« Julian Huppert says the Met Office has it all wrong | Main | The fatal contradiction »
Monday
Jan062014

Accelerated depreciation

This article at a blog called Billo The Wisp is important if true. Turbine gearbox failures apparently happen typically after 5-7 years rather than the 20 years that we are normally led to believe wind turbines last for. Moreover, their failure can be completely catastrophic, leading to the destruction of the whole turbine.

Billo has discovered that a group of US scientists has been commissioned by Washington to look into the problem, but they don't seem to have come up with anything since they started work in 2007.

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (59)

Unrelated but interesting

http://www.tuscolatoday.com/index.php/2014/01/02/what-is-the-problem-with-fracking/

Jan 6, 2014 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrianJay

The "GHOST IN THE GEARBOX " sounds familiar, the following article from STLE (Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers) in June 2010:-

The Elephant in the Wind Turbine

Edit:- Lot of links in Billo the Wisp post, just noticed one I missed earlier links to the above article. I need another read through!

Jan 6, 2014 at 2:15 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

What about those installed in marine environments?

Jan 6, 2014 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterGerry M

If this is true there will be a disclosable paper trail within the companies and those advocating the installation and financing of the schemes. That internal paperwork/advice will be at odds with the public statements and advocacy.

If true it is a simple case of fraud, albeit on a gigantic scale.

Give it a few years and we'll see a class action by enterprising lawyers repping wind farmers disgruntled at their service charges. Should be fun.

Jan 6, 2014 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

The same is true of shale gas and oil wells. The accountants claim that they will be able to produce for 40 years but the wells are usually uneconomic after 7 years. This means that the cost of production is understated and is the reason why we are about to see many of the companies bite the dust this year. I expect that Chesapeake is about to run out of cash and will have to fess up that it cannot plug its funding gaps for much longer. That should wipe out equity holders and should force lenders to write off 50% or so of the outstanding debt. And hopefully that will shed light on the problems that we get when we have governments and central banks meddle in markets and encourage malinvestments.

Jan 6, 2014 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterVangel

Turbine gearbox failures apparently happen typically after 5-7 years
....
they don't seem to have come up with anything since they started work in 2007.

Obviously they are waiting until 2014 so that the gearboxes due to fail after 7 years can be counted into their results.

Jan 6, 2014 at 2:45 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

@Vangel: so what? That's the nature of free enterprise, sometimes it goes to the wall. Over production of any goods leads to a price correction and the weak producers go to the wall. At least they are not funded out of my taxes, unlike the leaching rent-seeking wind farmers who are impoverishing the poor to make themselves rich. The entire renewables industry is a racket, a moral cesspit. The fact that the so-called progressive left supports this nonsense against the interests of the poor is an outrage.

The old red Clyde socialists like Maxton and Shinwell would put the present lot of brain-dead common purpose Malthusians up against a wall.

Jan 6, 2014 at 2:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterSebastian Weetabix

Alas, this is a non-story.

You need to read this while considering the following points:

1 - ALL aspects of Wind Turbines are hugely expensive and inefficient. And the data is regularly lied about, so we don't have enough basic information to construct a true cost benefit analysis. A paper which I believe to be fairly accurate points out that connecting more wind turbines than around 15% of total generation to a Grid actually looses money because of the impact they have on conventional generation. Thus developing a Wind Turbine which fails at frequent intervals and takes a long time to repair could actually be SAVING money, as compared to a turbine which constantly works...

2 - This is a government science project. So you have to consider the possibility that the science is completely incorrect and that the scientists/engineers are simply making work for themselves. That would be my first take on hearing that a working party was set up.

3 - Wind Turbines are DEFINED as 'The Answer'. This is a political statement. Whether the gearboxes work or not - indeed, whether there is anything inside them at all, or even whether they really exist, is an irrelevance. I have spent some time talking to my local MP and DECC, and have come to the conclusion that dispassionate engineering data, of any kind, simply will NOT be accepted into a conversation. The usual response is:

- I have no interest in reading any mathematics, which I cannot understand
- I have read the conclusion of your submission, which contradicts current policy
- Current policy is made by important people, and I am not going to act on anything which contradicts it

Though not put in precisely those words, of course...

Jan 6, 2014 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Mind you, wind power is positively sane compared to the giant 50 acres solar farms being foisted on us which provide little enough power anyway in our miserable climate and barely function at all in winter when energy is most needed.

tonyb

Jan 6, 2014 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered Commentertonyb

I haven't followed all of Billo's links, but this was covered a number of years ago in both Germany and Denmark. The fact that nothing has changed (apparently) is where this moves from being incompetence towards fraud. as referred to above, there should be a paper trail for this - there is no way you can still sell these things with a 20-25 year life-span and investors should have been told this. We will probably not get government officials in the dock, but making false claims on an investment prospectus is probably easier to prosecute.

Jan 6, 2014 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob

Does this mean they're not renewable and sustainable?

Jan 6, 2014 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterCanman

"That's the nature of free enterprise, sometimes it goes to the wall."

Free enterprise? What does that have to do with the liquidity injections by central banks that makes malinvestments not only possible but inevitable? What does it have to do with regulators allowing companies to use depreciation schedules based on estimates rather than real on real performance data? What does it have to do with government sponsored agencies creating reports that hype up a process that has never been profitable outside of a few core areas? And what does free enterprise have to do with bailing out lenders when they make bad bets?

There is nothing fee enterprise or free market about the shale sector at this time. Most of the producers in the US are losing money and have been cash flow negative for years even though the depletion curves show that most of the money will be earned in the first three years. Free markets do not keep financing processes that cannot produce profits.

The market will tell us which side of this argument is right. Look for write-offs by some of the larger players and possible mergers or bankruptcies by some of the players that have been in the sector for some time but have yet to generate positive cash flows and have funding gaps that cannot be filled without massive asset sales that would wipe out shareholder equity.

Jan 6, 2014 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterVangel

tonyb - 50 acres..? FIFTY ACRES..?? The chief executive of Peterborough City Council is throwing his toys out of the pram unless he gets the go-ahead to cover NINE HUNDRED ACRES of prime council-owned farmland with solar panels..!
Someone, somewhere, probably got a very good lunch...

Jan 6, 2014 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherlock1

And this report comes with a pro-green slant.

Heaven help us.

Jan 6, 2014 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Sherlock1

(Loved your programme last night)

I suspect the 900 acres comprises of a substantial number of parcels of land. It would be interesting to know what grade farmland it is and whether the electorate know what is coming.

Whatever, it is insane to believe that 900 acres of solar panels is going to be other than a pointless, expensive and ugly green gesture .
tonyb

Jan 6, 2014 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered Commentertonyb

This was entirely predictable. It's due to the bearings. To operate at the stresses, particularly off axis due to slow slew speed of the nacelle to face the wind, the drag would consume much of the power.

So, they compromised and ii's probably to just outside the guarantee period. Direct drive machines are better because there is less stored energy in the low rotational speed generator.

Jan 6, 2014 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterMydogsgotnonose

tonyb - well the Chief Executive of PCC is pretty damn keen on the idea - and doesn't seem in the least bit fazed that several long-standing tenant farmers will be thrown off the land in question...
Planning Committee vs Chief Executive..? Who wins, do you suppose..?
Oh - there's a massive wind farm in the mix as well, just for good measure...

Jan 6, 2014 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherlock1

Sherlock1

Just checked . It is three sites earmarked for solar panels of which the largest is a staggering 500 acres.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-20974843

Presumably the public will latch on to this latest green foolishness in due course. I know it is highly attractive to investors as it can make a profit of 8% per year due to the subsidies.

I don't know the life span of solar panels compared to wind turbines. If the component parts of a turbine do last only a few years it may be there is an equivalent weak point in the panel/connections such as the alternator.

Personally I favour building some good old fashioned coal fired power stations. If we insist on renewables we are an island with nowhere further than 70 miles from the coast. The ocean by way of waves, tides and currents provide unlimited amounts of potential energy. Mind you maintenance wont be easy. In this it will have a lot in common with off shore wind turbines.

tonyb

Jan 6, 2014 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered Commentertonyb

Wind Turbine Gearbox Reliability:
The impact of rotor support

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/06/wind-turbine-gearbox-reliability

Good background info on the problem.

Transmissions are not very sexy but they are important. For example, the failure of transmissions on two Super Puma helicopters.
http://avstop.com/october_2012/ec225_lp_super_puma_helicopter_may_have_a_gearbox_shaft_problem.htm

Jan 6, 2014 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpeed

tonyb,

Since Peterborough is the hub of our vegetable production industry there's a high probability that this insane project will impact on food production. Still, we can probably import it from Spain for now - that'll please the ecovermin - more wastage, lower quality (older produce) and more road transport impacts across the continent - typical Green SNAFU.

Jan 6, 2014 at 4:28 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

It's quite surprising that there has not been an "accident" involving many third parties yet. Their remoteness helps but quite a few trunk roads now run close to windmill developments. The non industrial type seem to be springing up quite close to public buildings, schools seem to attract them. I don't think the public fully appreciate the potential dangers or realise that these are machines under considerable stresses and with very high speeds at the wing tips.

Jan 6, 2014 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterGerry M

I wait, with trepidation and hope, for some assurance that the maintenance, repair and replacement costs for these turbines are not included in the generous deal on offer to pay for their outputs of electricity, in some cases even when it is not admitted into the National Grid. It is bad enough to watch these machines for pumping money away from me and millions of others and into the accounts of a handful of people who provide us with power we can buy more cheaply and reliably elsewhere and whose harm to the environment we would be better off without. I see them as Artesian Wells to take trickles of money away from me, adding to a substantial flow of funds heading to the beneficiaries in exchange for harming my landscapes and seascapes, killing bats and birds, destroying forests, and driving people living near them to distraction with sound and visual effects, as well as making new jobs and more competitive industry a bit less likely thanks to the extra costs they impose.

Jan 6, 2014 at 4:29 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

You appear to have a considerable amount to learn about tidal/wave power Tonyb. Costs are currently around six to eight times wholesale price depending on technology.

Jan 6, 2014 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

JohnB

I wrote a peer reviewed article on the subject so am aware of the costs. However, as with all renewables costs don't seem to be an issue so it wasn't a factor in my comment :)

Al I am saying that we could extract measurable amounts of power through tidal energy, although obviously waves are more of a wild card. However such devices could have a dual role by providing sea defences.

For example the railway line from Dawlish to Teignmouth has been susceptible to wave action since its inception 150 years ago. A sea defence alongside it that incorporated energy modules could kill a lot of birds with one go, but we are getting into the realms of fantasy here.

However in the meantime we need real world, cost effective solutions and they aren't going to come from renewables any time soon.
tonyb

Jan 6, 2014 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered Commentertonyb

The show stopper with wave power seems to be the difference between normal and storm conditions. I suspect that the square law pressure problems which are an issue with wind power really bite when dealing with much denser water.

The bottom line is that anything light enough to generate in normal conditions gets turned into scrap by the first serious storm.

Jan 6, 2014 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

I believe that Vestas have an ongoing action against ZF who build their gearboxes.

Jan 6, 2014 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Tolson

The Filthy Engineer - a retired marine engineer - has some informed comments on offshore turbines.

Jan 6, 2014 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterDizzy Ringo

vangel, a stopped clock is right twice a day. When we start to see the bankruptcies that you have been prophesying like an Old Testament prophet for over 2 years now, then we might take you seriously.

Jan 6, 2014 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

mdgnn

"less stored energy in the low rotational speed generator"

And less generated energy, I imagine. It must be difficult to design a generator that does much at around 20 rpm, or why would anyone bother with gearboxes?

I posted the following on Billo's blog:
--
Your table suggests that bearings are just as much of a problem, with (I surmise) a similar cause - the machines are just too big.

Already, they have to be kept turning when there is no wind, in the same way that large ships have to keep their propshafts turning (because of their weight and tendency to 'sag'). Keep a really large ball or roller bearing static and it won't stay properly round, or last, for long.

All part of the same problem, IMO.

Jan 6, 2014 at 6:11 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad - Wind Turbine Horror ?

Watch The Video - That's it in a nutshell really

Thanks.

Jan 6, 2014 at 6:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Garcia

The second post is the one to display
That is to say this one - Jan 6, 2014 at 6:18 PM

The first post about two minutes earlier had shome mishtake in the Author URL - sorry

Please delete the First post (Jan 6, 2014 at 6:16 PM)

and this message

Thanks "Bish" :-)

Jan 6, 2014 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Garcia

Nw

You are exactly right.wave devices tend to fall over, whimpering, as soon as there are white horses on the waves.hopefully the next generation will be more robust
Tonyb

Jan 6, 2014 at 6:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterTonyb

"I believe that Vestas have an ongoing action against ZF who build their gearboxes."

I can believe that. A friend of mine who is claims adjuster for Sweden's largest insurance company has told me that they now refuse payments for gearbox failures on Vestas turbines on the grounds of negligence by Vestas because they have systematically been using undersized gearboxes.

Jan 6, 2014 at 6:57 PM | Unregistered Commentertty

And less generated energy, I imagine. It must be difficult to design a generator that does much at around 20 rpm, or why would anyone bother with gearboxes?

It can be done, but it requires a very small generator, which means very strong permanent magnets. Hence the sudden huge demand for Rare Earth Metals. At least once the birds-shredders have been scrapped we'll have enough neodymium scrap to last for centuries.

Your table suggests that bearings are just as much of a problem, with (I surmise) a similar cause - the machines are just too big.

There is an inevitable fault with all horizontal-axis wid-turbines. Each time a blade passes the pylon there is a sudden change in the wind-field, which gives a nice sideways kick on the bearings. And, yes, the problem does not get smaller with bigger turbines.

Jan 6, 2014 at 7:12 PM | Unregistered Commentertty

The mention of bearing failures takes me back to my formative years in the 70's/80's when British motorcycles were still a common sight. The Norton Commando suffered main bearing problems due to the flexing of its heavy 360 degree throw two bearing crankshaft. The eventual cure was a special pair of roller bearings with slightly spherical rollers and, IIRC, dished tracks. These allowed the flexing without it chewing up the edges of the rollers, and once installed they lasted a long time. I wonder if anything like this has been considered for turbines?

Admittedly, the Norton's bearings weren't supporting many tons of rotor and blades, nor transmitting as much power. They also didn't have to contend with a salt laden environment in the way that offshore turbines do, and stripping them down could be done in any domestic shed or garage - sometimes even the kitchen table...

Jan 6, 2014 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave ward

Tonyb, they can't make them more robust or they won't move (and hence generate) in anything but a storm.

Even if they can come up with some scheme for reducing the active area when forces are high, they are stuck with the passive area and the waves tides and currents will just haul the thing out by the roots.

We have been building cargo ships for centuries, even today if a Captain gets into the wrong place at the wrong time the sea can simply destroy his ship.

Jan 6, 2014 at 7:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

"vangel, a stopped clock is right twice a day. When we start to see the bankruptcies that you have been prophesying like an Old Testament prophet for over 2 years now, then we might take you seriously."


For quite some time I have stated that we would see the Bakken peak some time between 2014Q2 and 2015Q2. Once that happens we cannot use the, 'we can ignore negative cash flows because we are investing in more production,' garbage. But since I have stated my position we have seen several billion of shale assets get written down as companies that got into the sector quickly discovered that they cannot make any money because of the low actual recovery rates and low energy prices. Companies like Chesapeake have sold off pieces of themselves and taken on more debt to close their funding gaps. They have let leases lapse because they know that there is no way to make money on non-core properties in any of the shale formations.

Don't look now but the mainstream media is starting to catch on. If you own any shares use share price increases that are driven by extremely cold temperatures as an opportunity to get out because once the companies fess up shareholders are going to get wiped out.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304753504579282900212162522

Jan 6, 2014 at 8:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterVangel

tonyb

"Just checked . It is three sites earmarked for solar panels of which the largest is a staggering 500 acres."

Given the fact that the UK is further north than Newfoundland who in their right mind would consider solar panels as an effective way to generate power?

Jan 6, 2014 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterVangel

In six years they should be able to report that most windmills have failed.

Jan 6, 2014 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

More wind power output on the grid leads to increased gas consumption for balancing wind power variations, see picture: pic.twitter.com/LdJXp5dbZ0

Wind power on the grid does not save fuel, therefore it is totally useless.

Subsidized wind energy firms are guilty of large scale fraud, receiving tax money from citizens without delivering a meaningful product.

Jan 6, 2014 at 9:30 PM | Registered CommenterAlbert Stienstra

What ever you do, don't let (Professor Doctor) David MacKay hear about this.

No, on second thoughts, do. There is some - admittedly dark - humour value to be had from witnessing extreme cognitive dissonance in action and it will make any subsequent backpedaling all the more tawdry and squalid.

Jan 6, 2014 at 9:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterirony overload

This article goes to the heart of the renewable energy fantasy, and to the heart of the direction take by capitalism for the past fifty years.

Why does this matter? After all it is the operators / manufacturers problem isn't it? It matters because IWT's are capital intensive. That means that most of their operating cost is mostly soaked up in purchasing the thing - and maintaining it.
The dream of green business is of a world where wage costs disappear. Where energy comes out of the air, and the machines to effect this magic transformation are made in far away places where wage costs are minimal. Since the post war advance of socialism which has provided decent wages for the working classes, capitalism has directed more and more of its energy towards replacing workers with machines - preferably made in the Far East.
The fantasy of renewable energy represents the ultimate stage of the capitalist dream - wheels which turn thanks to Mother Nature, without the intervention of nasty unionised labour. But unionised labour will still be there to complain when the windmills stop turning, when the lights go out, and when people die in power cuts. Whether their members revolt against the green leadership of their party, or desert in droves to UKIP, is an open question.

Jan 6, 2014 at 10:00 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

I do not think that the thrust of this post is correct - that there is a problem that gearboxes in that they will only last for 5-7 years, that has been around for 25 years and that it was so serious that the US government set up a special department to investigate in 2007. Despite all of this, there is still a largely hidden and hugely costly problem of which people are not aware. Having been in the engineering industry for a number of years I would consider the following if involved in the decision to set up a wind farm.
First, wind turbines are electro-mechanical devices. They need servicing and occasional overhauling. Ease of maintenance is important, including the replacement of major components. I would want a recommended maintenance program, along with projected parts costs, required maintenance equipment (e.g. a crane) and standard labour hours.
Second, I would want data on long-term historical performance, service and maintenance costs of each manufacturer's equipment.
Third, if there was a large wind farm, I would include some spare parts, including major components that should last the life of the equipment. This may include have complete sets of spare parts that can be quickly swapped out – so major maintenance can be done in a workshop and not 200 metres in the air.
Fourth, I would cross-check this against industry journals. Wind turbine manufacture is a huge business with a number of manufacturers selling into a large number of countries. Issues are discussed, like in any industry.
The largest wind farms cost hundreds of millions. Businesses are not naïve. Even with large potential profits, there is always more money to be made through proper investment appraisal and protecting that investment through a thorough maintenance programme. If a major component of a wind turbine only lasted a third the length of time of the main structure, then replacing that component would become a part of the life-time costs. There would be huge incentives to minimize those costs through better design, such as ease of replacement of bearings. The only issue is that the real costs of wind turbines will never come down to a level where subsidies are no longer required.

Jan 6, 2014 at 11:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

tty said:

I can believe that. A friend of mine who is claims adjuster for Sweden's largest insurance company has told me that they now refuse payments for gearbox failures on Vestas turbines on the grounds of negligence by Vestas because they have systematically been using undersized gearboxes.

Perhaps there is a silver lining to the subsidy incentive that can lead to de-rating wind mills in the UK.

The great British wind scam

"Inquiries by The Spectator have revealed a scam known as ‘de-rating’. Green businesses are modifying large turbines to make them less productive, because perverse government subsidies reward machines that produce less energy at nearly double the rate of more efficient ones. It’s extraordinarily profitable for a few beneficiaries, even if it clutters the countryside and does little to save the planet."

Jan 7, 2014 at 12:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

Kevin Marshall

"The largest wind farms cost hundreds of millions. Businesses are not naïve. Even with large potential profits, there is always more money to be made through proper investment appraisal and protecting that investment through a thorough maintenance programme."

This is nonsense. Businesses depend on subsidies and mandates for profit because wind cannot compete with coal, hydro, nuclear, or gas generation.

"If a major component of a wind turbine only lasted a third the length of time of the main structure, then replacing that component would become a part of the life-time costs. There would be huge incentives to minimize those costs through better design, such as ease of replacement of bearings."

But you are missing the point. If all of these costs were identified before the costs were sunk governments would never have approved the level of subsidies that would be needed to make wind viable or made purchases of wind energy mandatory.

"The only issue is that the real costs of wind turbines will never come down to a level where subsidies are no longer required."

Bingo. Wind energy is too diffuse so outside of a few niche applications wind generation will never be competitive. The best thing to do is to get rid of all subsidies and taxes in the energy sector and let the market decide which sources are most appropriate.

Jan 7, 2014 at 3:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterVangel

Jan 7, 2014 at 3:43 AM | Vangel

I want to call attention to a major issue that almost always is forgotten. Since windmills cannot replace a single existing conventional generator, they must be considered as extras. Hence, all lifetime energy costs must be taken into account to assess the fossil fuel they really save.

Judging from calculations on the Eirgrid data, just looking at CCGT fuel use as function of wind penetration on the grid, wind energy does not save any fuel. Taking into account lifetime energy costs as well, the savings will be distinctly negative; less fuel will be used by running the CCGTs without any wind energy on the grid.

With this gearbox problem the windmill lifetime energy cost will be much increased. However, some manufacturers make windmills without gearboxes, such as Enercon and Siemens. Even with these, however, the total fuel savings will be negative for high wind energy penetration.

Taking into account the cost of windmills, cabling etc. and the subsidy required to make wind energy firms profitable, the whole activity can only be judged as fraudulent.

Jan 7, 2014 at 11:52 AM | Registered CommenterAlbert Stienstra

This blog entry made me start looking harder at the issue of gearbox reliability. Some of what I found is that apparently -- this qualifier is necessary because I don't know how much headway has been made -- apparently the wind industry is trying to move beyond gearboxes toward direct drive. Here is a 2010 article on that:

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/418689/wind-turbines-shed-their-gears/

Here are two paragraphs of interest:

"Most observers say the industry’s shift to direct-drive is a response to highly publicized gearbox failures. But Henrik Stiesdal, chief technology officer of Siemens’s wind power unit, says that gearbox problems are overblown. He says Siemens is adopting direct-drive as a means of generating more energy at lower cost. “Turbines can be made more competitive through direct-drive,” says Stiesdal.

Siemens’s plans hinge on a new design that reduces the weight of the system’s generator. In conventional wind turbines, the gearbox increases the speed of the wind-driven rotor several hundred fold, which radically reduces the size of the generator required. Direct-drive generators operate at the same speed as the turbine’s blades and must therefore be much bigger–over four meters in diameter for Siemens’s three-megawatt turbine. Yet Siemens claims that the turbine’s entire nacelle weighs just 73 metric tons–12 tons less than that on its less powerful, gear-driven 2.3-megawatt turbines."

"Just" 73 tons?? "Highly publicized gearbox failures?" Why is the first we have heard of them?

Jan 7, 2014 at 4:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Anyone know of a UK windfarm which is visible in Google maps? I just checked Whitelee and the aerial photography is too old.
The impression I get is that when the turbines have been erected the construction roads are removed and the ground landscaped which would fit with the concept of no major replacement work being needed for 25 years. This would mean that getting a crane in for a gearbox change would be difficult and costly.

Jan 7, 2014 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

NW

"Anyone know of a UK windfarm which is visible in Google maps? I just checked Whitelee and the aerial photography is too old."

Here you go:

https://maps.google.ca/maps?q=55%C2%B0+54%E2%80%B2+0%E2%80%B3+N,+2%C2%B0+33%E2%80%B2+0%E2%80%B3+W&ie=UTF-8&ei=TTLMUsD6A8Pg2gWG9YCYBg&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAg

Jan 7, 2014 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterVangel

"failures apparently happen typically after 5-7 years rather than the 20 years that we are normally led to believe wind turbines last for"
---
I am, again, intrigued as to who has been lead to believe such a thing and by whom, with so few in authority or the media so far asking either the right questions or the right people.

As with installed capacities vs. actual annual deliverables, are the same headline writers who cheerfully apply the most couldy of #couldfiles claims to their every posting going to perhaps look at reliability and maintenance issues that turn out to be up to a factor of four out of whack?

If they did, even some starry-eyed PPE graduate Minister may get their heads around the economic, and enviROI consequences.

The BBC and Graun alone seem to have reported on farms that already 'could' be providing 101% of Scotland's needs. Are they?

Jan 7, 2014 at 5:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterJunkkMale

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