Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Half of Offshore Wind Farms Likely to be Destroyed by Storms

Stephen Rose and colleagues from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, modelled the risk hurricanes might pose to turbines at four proposed wind farm sites. They found that nearly half of the planned turbines are likely to be destroyed over the 20-year life of the farms. Turbines shut down in high winds, but hurricane-force winds can topple them. _NS
The marine environment is extremely harsh to mechanical and electrical systems. The minimum expense of placing and maintaining large offshore wind farms is exorbitant -- and will drive up the costs of electrical power for anyone who tries to depend upon them for vital power. A relentlessly chaotic rocking of waves combined with corrosive salt spray and water vapour, begin to work their destruction upon the giant but vulnerable turbines from the very first day in the water.

Million dollar gearboxes fail frequently, as do bearings and other moving parts. Turbines will be out of reach of maintenance crews for months out of the year due to storms and winds. A relatively large proportion of turbines should be expected to be out of service at any given time.

Now if you add the likelihood that entire wind farms will be destroyed by hurricanes and other strong storms on a regular basis, most reasonable persons would be forced to ask why any responsible government or entity would support the building of these expensive, unreliable, and ultimately doomed monstrosities and hazards to navigation.



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