Danish Wind Turbines Take Unfortunate Turn

Problems at showcase Horns Rev project provide wind energy critics with ammunition

3 min read

The world's largest producer of wind turbines, and the whole idea of large-scale wind energy itself, suffered a setback this summer with news that all the turbines at Denmark's Horns Rev (Reef)--the biggest offshore wind farm built to date--would be moved to shore for repair and replacement of defective transformers and generators. Vestas Wind System A/S in Ringkøbing blamed harsh sea conditions for the substandard performance of equipment supplied by ABB Ltd., the Swedish-Swiss energy conglomerate headquartered in Zurich. The generator and transformer problems made it necessary to retrofit all 81 of the 2-megawatt turbines, at considerable expense.

Vestas, the world's leading wind technology supplier, installed the Horns Rev turbines in 2002, under contract with Denmark's biggest power producer, Elsam A/S in Fredericia [see photo, " Let It Blow"]. The mishap at Horns Rev is especially embarrassing because similar problems arose at the first big wind farm Vestas installed, near Copenhagen. The company had expressed confidence when erecting the Horns Rev turbines that this time things would go more smoothly.

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Greg Mably

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