C: Rabih Shasha via Unsplash

Toppling Turbines? Why windmills twice the size of Big Ben are falling over

A fascinating piece from Popular Mechanics today on wind turbines:

“The taller the wind turbine, the harder they fall. And they sure are falling.”

Wind turbine failures are on the uptick, from Oklahoma to Sweden and Colorado to Germany, with all three of the major manufacturers admitting that the race to create bigger turbines has invited manufacturing issues, according to a report from Bloomberg.

They go onto explain that really massive wind turbines – those taller than 750 feet or about twice the size of Big Ben – are collapsing across the world, with one enormous example, reaching 784 feet, falling in Germany in September 2021.

So what’s happening? The three biggest manufacturers in the industry: General Electric, Vestas, and Siemens Gamesa are all seeing turbines tumbling – and it may be a production quality issue, Bloomberg says.

They quote Larry Culp, the GE CEO as saying: “It takes time to stabilize production and quality on these new products.”

“Rapid innovation strains manufacturing and the broader supply chain,” he added. 

While manufacturers are improving quality control, it has to be considered that newer models of turbines can reach 850 feet with blades 300 feet long.

Not a place for picnics then.

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