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Wind turbine economics and failures  

Credit:  Bill Carson | Bristol-Warren Patch | bristol-warren.patch.com 6 July 2012 ~~

This year $40 billion dollars worth of commercial wind turbines will come out of their warranty period. The out-of-warranty turbines around the 1.5 Megawatt range need, gearbox repairs, transmission upgrades and blade repairs during the period of 2011 to 2020.

The Town of Portsmouth paid $3 million dollars for a 1.5 Megawatt commercial wind turbine. One way or another the turbine is owned by the residents of Portsmouth.

Turbines are designed to last for 20 years but O&M strategies were not.
Operations and maintenance issues are commonly left out of the sales pitch when purchasing a commercial wind turbine. The town turbine is 3-years-old.

The maintenance plan on the Portsmouth High School wind turbine runs around $33,000 per year. A major breakdown after the warranty could cost plenty. A turbine similar to this in Princeton, MA, costs $600,000 to replace a gearbox.

Let’s say that next week an announcement is made that the turbine needs major repairs to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars and additional crane expenses to take down and repair the turbine plus the down time loss of income. The crane is a special crane that comes on several 53 foot truck trailers .

The turbine is only 3-years-old. Knowing in another three years your facing another major repair of the same type and the unknown of blade repairs or transmission upgrades. What do you do?

How can the town justify the operation and maintenance costs of the turbine for the next year? When does the turbine become a clunker getting hit with hundreds of thousand dollars in repair costs every year?

Source:  Bill Carson | Bristol-Warren Patch | bristol-warren.patch.com 6 July 2012

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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