Bearings and $ losses causing BigWind holiday headaches

We have blogged, before, that an achilles heal of this industry in the bearings. Siemens now reports a $279 million charge to earnings in the third quarter due to blade repairs caused by faulty bearings and the effects of harsh weather conditions.  Blade failures and degradation lead to excessive noise emissions as well as accidents.  In hearing after hearing before Ohio regulators and legislators, the wind industry has claimed any such deficiencies were minimal and chance of blade failures remote.   The Siemens charge to earnings is real, repair costs are real and no one should accept what the industry claims on its face without documentation….

The massive charges Siemens incurred for inspecting and replacing main bearings in onshore wind turbines during its financial fourth quarter were due to an early degradation of the bearings in certain machines, Siemens Energy chief Lisa Davis said at a press conference.

“These issues appear to be related to recent batches of bearings and we’re in close discussions with the supplier that we have for these bearings,” Davis said, without disclosing the supplier’s name….

The second reason for the charges that added up to €223m ($279m) during the quarter were costs incurred for blade repairs caused by “harsh weather conditions” both onshore and offshore, Davis explained….

Problems at bearings and blades have repeatedly haunted the wind power industry. German utility RWE Innogy earlier this year re-tendered a contract to equip the 332MW Nordsee 1 offshore wind farm in the German North Sea after a technical hitch relating to bearings was found in a handful of turbine manufacturer Senvion’s flagship 6.2MW offshore turbines. Senvion, a unit of India’s Suzlon, previously had been pre-selected to provide the turbines, which would represent a very important order for the company.

US giant GE earlier this year was hit by a manufacturing “anomaly” that caused a number of blade breakages, including two incidents at a 200.6MW Invenergy wind farm in Nebraska.

Siemens Wind pays price for bearings, blade issues -RechargeNews.

Siemens to write down wind turbines – SZ newspaper

FRANKFURT Tue Nov 4, 2014 2:19am EST

Nov 4 (Reuters) – German engineering group Siemens will take writedowns that may run into the hundreds of millions of euros at its wind-turbines business, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Tuesday….

Profit at Siemens’ wind power division plunged 60 percent in the first nine months of 2014 due to a low contribution from the high-margin offshore business, high production costs and charges for replacing defective bearings in onshore wind turbines….

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Mark Potter)