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.