The number of wind turbine fires is increasing as the number of turbines installed increases. For example, a 100-turbine wind farm is on average ten times more likely to have a fire than a 10-turbine wind farm. This trend is affecting the reputation of the industry, hardening the insurance market, and has the potential to hurt the growth of the wind industry.
Texas has been hit by a wave of freezing temperatures that caused major power outages for millions across the state. Around half of wind turbines in the state stopped generating electricity, which caused doubts about the effectiveness of renewable energy. However, wind turbines are operating in frigid places like Antarctica, Norway, the North Sea, and Sweden. How are these turbines able to operate, but those in Texas are not?
Losses due to wind turbine fires can cost $7-8 million, which could be crippling to pay for without insurance. Wind turbine insurance is important to ensure that producing wind energy remains profitable for owners and operators. However, many insureds are surprised that they didn’t understand their insurance policy terms fully when they have a loss.
2020 was a year full of surprises and losses, and it left us with a final destructive parting gift — three turbine fires that made the news within a span of just 11 days. One of the fires occurred on Christmas Day and caused more than a few people to respond to the fire instead of spending the holiday with their family.
Fires in wind turbines have been an expensive issue for years and are an important risk to mitigate. We sat down with Jatin Sharma, the Managing Partner of NARDAC and a leading voice in the renewable energy space, to discuss the current and future state of wind turbine insurance. Learn what wind energy insurance in 2021 will look like from Jatin’s perspective.
There are a lot of things to consider when purchasing and installing wind turbines for your wind farm. One of the packages you may have seen is the ability to add fire detection and suppression to your turbines. We will review the facts to assist you in making an informed decision about active fire suppression and help you gain an understanding if it provides a return on investment when you opt-in.
No wind farm owner or operator wants to deal with the headache of a wind turbine fire. However, wind turbine fires do occur and can be disastrous. In an unprotected wind turbine, you are likely to have a total loss, and when the fire occurs, you must have a plan in place for how to extinguish the fire and then replace the turbine.
The fire suppression agent, Halon is still in use today; however, there is no new production of Halons. While Halon is considered a clean agent by The National Fire Protection Association because it’s electrically non-conducting and does not leave a residue, Halon has an extremely high potential for ozone depletion and contributes to global warming potential. On January 1, 1994, Halon production ceases in compliance with the Montreal Protocol and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The use of Halons has been reducing over the years, but there is still demand for it for specific applications.
The wind industry has experienced extensive growth since an initial boom in the mid-1990s. Wind power is poised to become a prominent part of the energy supply for global demand. However, as wind turbines get bigger and more expensive, fire risk is becoming a greater concern for the industry.
Operations and maintenance are critical elements and a significant amount of the costs associated with a wind farm. Having a well-planned maintenance program will ensure wind turbines are running efficiently and at their highest capacity. Overall general maintenance, up-tower repairs, and down-tower remanufacturing processes help to reduce the total cost of energy production and extend the life expectancy of a wind turbine.
After halons were phased out of fire suppression systems back in the 1990s, it created a need for alternatives. The challenge was that halons were very effective in extinguishing most types of fires, electrically non-conductive, safe for limited human exposure, and leave no residue. The disadvantage of halons and why there was a ban placed on them is due to their strong ozone depletion potential. Over the past several decades, several fire suppression agents and technologies have emerged. In this post, we will explore aerosol fire suppression systems.