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Author: mschmit Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 54978  
Subject: Re: Lifespan of wind farms Date: 2/11/2013 2:40 PM
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Recommendations: 2
Electrics- 5.51
Control Unit- 3.71
Sensors- 2.8
Hydraulics- 2.7
Yaw System- 2.5
Brakes- 2.0
Gearbox- 1.3
Generator- 1.3
Structure- 1.2
Drive Train- 1.0

...
As time goes on, it would not surprise me if the wind turbines improve their performance. ...
This is how engineering is done.


Some of these, once the failure rate is known are easy to fix. For example, the sensors. The cheapest solution might be to just install an alternate backup set of sensors, then only shutdown and repair when two like ones have gone out. Of course maybe the sensors can be improved, but we'd need to know why they are failing. It can be as simple as dust and dirt covers an optical sensor.

On the structural problems. Structures are very well known. But to be economical they are going to design right at the margin. They can make every structure 10% better and eliminate 95% of the problems...but then the initial costs go up.

All the same cost tradeoffs go into steam plants as well. Things like condensate pumps fail. So they have pre-installed backups...probably sometimes with autostart features when they sense low pressure output.

It seems that, by design, wind farms already have pre-installed backups. Dozens or hundreds of other wind turbines, each one operating independently. The only "critical" components are where all the power is switched into the grid. So it is a big cost tradeoff of cost vs reliability and longevity.

Mike
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