I find it interesting that after the recent wind turbine blade failure in Tipton, Eon Spokesman, Elon Hasson was quoted in Kokomo Tribune as “such failures are rare” and GE issued statement included, “Blade breaks in wind turbines are rare”.
It is odd that what wind industry continues to call rare seems to happen with awful regularity. As I write this, just hours ago in Pennsylvania, another blade snapped in half at the EverPower owned turbine farm near Dunlo in Adams Township.
A quick search of news articles show that 4 blade failures of GE1.6-100 model turbine occurred during 8 months. This does not include the recent blade failure in Wildcat-I wind farm in Tipton and there probably are more that I did not find.
March 11 2013: A blade broke in half at DTE’s Thumb Wind Park in March.
Nov 7, 2013: A blade snapped in half and fell to the ground at DTE Energy’s 112MW Echo project in Michigan while a newly installed turbine was being commissioned.
Nov 17, 2013: A blade sheared off on the 5th day of commissioning of “turbine 34” at Invenergy’ s 94MW Orangeville wind farm in New York State.
Nov 20, 2013: A broken blade at Invenergy’s California Ridge project in Illinois, which was commissioned in 2012, was linked to extreme weather.
Tipton County Citizens for Responsible Development has always cited reputable studies when discussing the reliability of wind turbines. According to “Permitting Setbacks for Wind Turbines in California and the Blade Throw Hazard” by Scott Larwood of California Wind Energy Collaborative University of California, Davis,
“The available documentation shows blade failure probability in the 1-in-100 to 1-in-1000 per turbine per year range. There is no indication of improvement of this statistic with new technology.”
Another study, Reliability performance and maintenance – A survey of failures in wind power systems Master Thesis by Johan Ribrant that reviewed actual failure data from wind turbines in Sweden, Finland and Germany concluded even a higher blade failure rate.
The blade failure in Tipton matches these studies. We have 1 blade failure in 125 turbines in approximately one year. Data does not lie.