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Wind Turbines Are Burning, Collapsing in Green Energy Setback

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Wind Turbines Are Burning, Collapsing in Green Energy Setback

No one's been killed or injured -- yet -- but a rash of wind turbine failures is jarring a key cornerstone of the green energy movement, according to a new Bloomberg report. 

The unwelcome trend of malfunctions -- which includes both breakdowns and total structural collapses -- is being witnessed in the United States and Europe alike. As this rare 2008 video of a collapse indicates, the phenomenon isn't brand new, but insiders say the frequency is spiking.  

Perhaps most disturbingly, recently-manufactured windmills are among latest string of casualties. “We’re seeing these failures happening in a shorter time frame on the newer turbines, and that’s quite concerning,” Fraser McLachlan, CEO of GCube Underwriting Ltd tells Bloomberg

Last summer, a GE turbine that had been installed less than a year earlier buckled in half. Within a week, the same model notched another failure in Colorado. 

The failures aren't limited to a single manufacturer or model. The West's three biggest manufacturers -- GE, Vestas Wind Systems and Siemens are all facing hundreds of millions of dollars in additional costs.

The wreckage from the collapse of a 784-foot-tall wind turbine in Haltern, Germany (TF-Images/Getty Images via Bloomberg

Bloomberg reports that Vestas, GE and Siemens Gamesa have all confirmed that pressure to quickly introduce more powerful turbines has led to the stumbles. In response, they're slowing the pace of innovation.  

“Rapid innovation strains manufacturing and the broader supply chain,” said GE CEO Larry Culp on an October earnings call. “It takes time to stabilize production and quality on these new products.” 

The damage to bottom lines is already appearing: On Friday, Siemens lowered its forecasted 2023 earnings due to elevated warranty and maintenance costs associated with faulty Siemens Gamesa wind turbine components. GE took a half-billion-dollar charge in its third quarter for higher warranty and repair costs. 

That financial damage to this green energy sector could be compounded in short order, as a higher frequency of claims is likely to prompt a hike in insurance premiums

Of course, even when they're not falling victim to define flaws, wind turbines are always under steady attack by nature, with lightning strikes inflicting many casualties ...and putting on quite a show on the way out.  

That isn't the only trouble for windmills. After 7 whales washed up dead on New York and New Jersey beaches in a little over a month, environmentalist are pointing a finger at offshore wind farm development and demanding it be halted pending an investigation.  

Tyler Durden Wed, 01/25/2023 - 15:29

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