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.
Fires can be devastating and happen when you least expect them. Generally, the earlier you can suppress a fire, the better. This is because fires grow in intensity, temperature, and size if they have the resources they need to burn- oxygen, heat, fuel, and in some cases, a chain reaction. Understanding how a fire forms can help you better protect yourself and your assets. Read on to learn more about how fires form — from the incipient stage until decay.
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.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a clean agent is an electrically non-conducting, volatile, or gaseous fire extinguishant that does not leave a residue upon evaporation. A clean agent fire suppression system uses either a chemical or inert gas to suppress a fire at the inception stage before it can grow and is incredibly effective in extinguishing Class A, B, and C fires.
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.
Clean agent fire protection systems that use chemicals like FM200 and discharge as a gas are considered to be safe in normally occupied spaces. FM200 complies with NFPA Standard 2001: Standard for Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems, EPA SNAP Program (Significant New Alternative Policy), Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL), and Factory Mutual Research Corporation (FMRC). FM200 is a clean and colorless agent that suppresses fires through heat absorption. It is electronically non-conductive, making it safe for sensitive equipment and leaving no residue behind minimizes the downtime after a fire incident.