Wind turbine failures are on the uptick, from Oklahoma to Sweden and Colorado to Germany, with all three of the major manufacturers admitting that the race to create bigger turbines has invited manufacturing issues, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Multiple turbines that are taller than 750 feet are collapsing across the world, with the tallest—784 feet in stature—falling in Germany in September 2021. To put it in perspective, those turbines are taller than both the Space Needle in Seattle and the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. Even smaller turbines that recently took a tumble in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, England, and Colorado were about the height of the Statue of Liberty.
Turbines are falling for the three largest players in the industry: General Electric, Vestas, and Siemens Gamesa. Why? “It takes time to stabilize production and quality on these new products,” Larry Culp, GE CEO, said last October on an earning call, according to Bloomberg. “Rapid innovation strains manufacturing and the broader supply chain.”
Without industrywide data chronicling the rise—and now fall—of turbines, we’re relying on industry experts to note the flaws in the wind farming. “We’re seeing these failures happening in a shorter time frame on the new turbines,” Fraser McLachlan, CEO of insurer GCube Underwriting, told Bloomberg, “and that’s quite concerning.”