Wind turbine efficiency drops as much as 20 percent a year, industry says
While the wind industry likes to boast of a 30% efficiency rate (Algonquin Power claimed 40% for 20 years in its prospectus for the Amherst Island project) the truth is somewhat different.
In fact, says an industry insider in the current issue of North American Clean Energy, efficiency decline is a major concern for the wind power industry, and it is well known that “erosion” of the turbine blades alone can lead to a 20-percent drop in annual power production.
The author of the article works with 3M and his intent was to flog the company’s products to reduce blade erosion.
“The heart of the issue is the fact that wind blades come into contact with rain, hail, salt spray and other debris in the air at rotation speeds of up to 250 mph, leading to erosion in the form of pitting, gouging, and delamination of the edge of the blade,” writes Santhosh Chandrabalan. “this erosion not only compromises the integrity of the blade, but also impacts its aerodynamic efficiency, causing a significant loss in AEP [annual energy production].”