United States

United States

Warranty and operating issues

Congratulations on your comment piece (Windpower Monthly, July 2006) calling Vestas' leadership "courageous/gutsy" and noting "continued improvement." I appreciate Randy Tinkerman's offer to "eat a 20-year old Howden tip brake" if the Vestas' "Will to Win" initiative sputters out.

I like your analogies to the Howden tip brake because it illustrates the fundamental problem here; building wind turbines is a risky venture requiring a combination of sound engineering and business acumen. Tip brakes are only a tip of the iceberg, a symptom of inadequate design. The two wind farms I built nearby the Howden plant also had tip brakes and one of them is still running today.

As I recall, the Howden turbine had other problems than tip brakes; we could see the air cooled open cage generators shower sparks in the morning because of condensation build up in the windings. From my perspective, Howden went under because of a combination of poor engineering and lack of capital to fix the defects -- as did a litany of other now defunct wind turbine manufacturers; Windmatic, Polenko, Flowind, J Carter, GE (Valley Forge, PA), Boeing, Westinghouse, United Technology, Sikorsky, ESI, Mehrkam, Fayette, Alcoa, Sumitomo, Enertech, Grumman, Jacobs, US Windpower/Kennetech and others.

I am grateful for the contribution Vestas has made to our industry and I would very much like to see Vestas grow and prosper. Healthy turbine manufacturers are the cornerstone of our wind energy business.

Having planned/built/operated over 1000 MW of wind farms, including 46xV66 Vestas 1.75 MW turbines and 53xV90 3 MW turbines (under construction) I would like Ditlev Engel to roll up his sleeves and visit with Vestas owners to discuss warranty and operating issues and value engineering to reduce the cost of energy.

The Will to Win is won in the trenches, not in public release announcements. I'll eat my blown-out Vestas Skiipack if I am wrong.

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