Hundreds of offshore wind turbines in UK waters need emergency repairs after they started eroding within a few years of being installed. Owners of the 175-turbine London Array wind farm off Kent, the biggest offshore farm in the world, and the 108-turbine West of Duddon Sands wind farm off Cumbria have applied to the Marine Management Organisation for permission to carry out urgent repairs. The London Array was completed in 2013 and West of Duddon Sands a year later. Both use a type of turbine made by Siemens Gamesa, which has admitted that the leading edge of the blades – the part that slices through the air when the turbine turns – is being eroded much faster than expected on some of the machines. A spokesman said that various factors including the “wind speed, the rotor configuration, the amount of rain, a nd even the size of raindrops” were thought to be behind the problem. The UK has more offshore wind farms than any other country after supporting their construction with generous renewable energy subsidies to help to meet climate change targets. More than 1,600 turbines operate in UK waters, but critics have long questioned how reliable they will prove in the harsh conditions offshore. If the issue with the Siemens Gamesa turbines proves symptomatic of a wider problem, it could undermine the economics of building wind farms.
Times 15th March 2018 read more »
UNDER-threat engineering firm BiFab is understood to be down to the final two bidders for a project that would give it enough work to keep its Fife yards open until at least 2019. The firm, which was bailed out by a £15 million loan from the Scottish Government at the end of last year, is due to run out of work at the end of this month, when its contract on the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm comes to an end. It has been gradually laying off agency staff as their fixed-term contracts come to an end and in February began a redundancy consultation with all of its 220 permanent staff. However, a source close to the firm said it was now one of two bidders being considered for work on the Kincardine Offshore Windfarm Project, a seven-turbine floating array planned for the waters off Aberdeen. The source said that winning this contract would provide a lifeline for BiFab as it would give it enough work to keep operating until larger projects come up for tender later this year.
Herald 15th March 2018 read more »