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Brakes put on farming wind turbines after rotor problem  

Credit:  The Courier & Advertiser, 16 September 2011 ~~

A leading manufacturer of small-scale wind turbines has advised all 500 of its customers to apply the brakes to the machines as soon as possible.

Proven Energy, based at Stewarton in Ayrshire, has sold many of its 12.1 kilowatt capacity 35-2 turbines in Scotland, particularly for onfarm use, but it has emerged a main rotor fault has resulted in a small number completely.

No calls were being answered yesterday, but a notice on the website advised: “Proven Energy has become aware of a potential manufacturing defect in its Proven 35-2 wind turbine (the Proven 7 and Proven 11 are unaffected).

“We are investigating this, however our work to date has now shown that a significant num-

failing ber of shafts may be affected across multiple manufacturing batches.

“With that in mind we are now advising all Proven 35-2 owners to place their wind turbines on brake as soon as it is safe to do so.”

This is serious news for those who have invested upwards of £45,000 on each turbine, with a number installed in banks of two or three, but there could be worse news to come for those expecting warranty work to be carried out.

Low Carbon Accelerator Ltd, a fund set up to invest in renewable energy and an 81% equity stakeholder in Proven Energy, said it anticipated having to make a “substantial or total write down” of its investment in the firm.

LCA Ltd has invested around £11.2 million in Proven and it is believed a further £500,000 was injected as recently as last month.

At the time slow sales, due to difficulties in receiving planning permission, were being blamed for causing losses that were proving difficult to sustain.

Proven Energy’s smaller models, which are mostly used in domestic situations, are unaffected.

The fault has developed in the farm scale P35-2 model – ironically the first such turbine in the UK to be accredited to the microgeneration certification scheme.

Only by installing an accredited turbine can owners claim the feed-in tariff for the power generated.

With the blades now stationary there will be no income of any sort from the turbines.

It is understood the rotor shaft weakness may have come to the fore during recent gales on a small number of turbines on very exposed sites.

One owner said he had been told that the procedure to strengthen the rotors might not be too complex on undamaged machines. There will, however, be an expense involved and insurance companies will need to be satisfied that the turbines are safe.

Proven Energy Ltd was founded in 1980 in Ayrshire by Gordon Proven. Amongst early successes was a six-kilowatt machine supplied for use in the Antarctic.

Earlier this year the company opened an office in Chicago with a view to making inroads into renewable energy in the USA.

Source:  The Courier & Advertiser, 16 September 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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