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)

Big Wind, I call your bluff – go ahead and stand w/o the PTC!

Comparing Wind-to-Coal is like comparing an Energy Bar-to-Candy Bar for exercising…one gives you an extended supply of energy, where the other allows you to crash and burn in a short time.  Coal provides us with a consistent, stable energy source, but wind is on/off and as our EPA policies decimate the coal industry, blackouts/grid problems will follow. Just notice how this article makes reference to the “new wind capacity in x GW”, but there is no reference to how much power will ACTUALLY be produced. I would LOVE to see Kiernan’s quote (below) come true! Funny how he makes reference to “all the subsidies from EVERY energy source” though, since wind receive substantially more subsidies (than EVERY other producer) per unit of energy produced! And don’t forget the local tax abatements, aka PILOTS and other goodies that we throw their way. Buffett’s decision doesn’t show that wind power rivals coal, it only shows that he knows that this administration has “dug in its heels” to make sure that coal, oil and and natural gas are being demonized. He will make a few bucks here and then dump them fast if/when some common sense prevails again someday…

Wind is the cheapest source of power in Iowa, and the deal indicates that turbines are becoming profitable without subsidies, according to Tom Kiernan, chief executive officer of the American WindEnergy Association trade group. That’s a boost for suppliers including Siemens, General Electric Co. and Vestas Wind Systems A/S, and a threat to coal miners such as Peabody Energy Corp.“If Congress were to remove all the subsidies from every energy source, the wind industry can compete on its own,” Kiernan said at a press conference at a Siemens factory in Fort Madison, Iowa, yesterday, when the order was announced.

via Buffett’s $1 Billion Order Shows Wind Power Rivals Coal.