The future of turbine blades

Turbine blades represent up to a third of the cost of a wind turbine but they do not yet benefit from the sophistication of sensor technology which exists in its other components, so are they the poor relation?

The evidence is that, as blades get larger, issues such as leading edge erosion – and its cumulative effect on annual energy production – will get worse and other types of repairs more frequent.

So what does the near future of blade inspections and maintenance look like, how big will they get and what is the effect on public opinion towards wind when turbine blades experience a catastrophic failure?  

Finally, Episode Nine explores whether owner-operators of wind farms and turbine manufacturers can resolve the current stalemate between the need for detailed information to run a wind farm at optimum efficiency on one hand and OEMs protecting commercial sensitivities in a highly competitive marketplace.

Ahead of the return of the Blades USA forum in Texas next month, Ian Griggs, deputy editor of Windpower Monthly, spoke to two of the key speakers from the forthcoming conference: Carsten Westergaard, president of Westergaard Solutions, and Katelyn Reynolds, manager of operations and engineering at owner-operator Invenergy.

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