Windmill Icing

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The debate on whose to blame wages on with the failure of the electrical grid in Texas. The challenges of natural gas in cold periods I am more familiar with and it is predictable whenever there isn’t sufficient weatherization efforts.
The failure to weatherize is a preventative maintenance effort that impacts electric companies and others. The electric companies fail to cut trees back, fail to replace power lines, bad poles and the lack of preventative maintenance programs. Failures in the cable television/internet and the lack of preventative maintenance will always cause outages as well.

Failure to maintain alternate energy sources such as windmills and solar panels is not different.
I wanted information about windmills and their performance in cold conditions up north because this is the argument used in the current debate about Texas wind-farms that failed in the cold weather. I was puzzled by why the windmills froze up while they were turning but I learned that they have safety features built in that shuts them down when ice builds up and causes vibration on the blades. Once they shut themselves down they will not restart until the ice melts.

There is no point in researching current events on the whole Texas Windmill saga because it is distorted by emotion. So the best place to look is in older information and found such information at which is a Canadian Government site, and the report is dated 12-21-2017.
It states,
“The operation of wind turbines in a cold climate such as Canada’s involves additional challenges not present in warmer locations, such as:

Accumulation of ice on wind turbine blades resulting in reduced power output and increased rotor loads;
Cold weather shutdown to prevent equipment failure; and
Limited or reduced access for maintenance activities.
Based on actual measurements, icing can occur up to 20% of the time between the months of November and April. Wind turbines must therefore be able to sustain at least limited icing without incurring damage that would prevent normal operation.

Wind turbine manufacturers are increasingly recognizing the impacts of cold climate operation and are building turbines better equipped to handle winter conditions. With the installation of “cold weather packages” which provide heating to turbine components such as the gearbox, yaw and pitch motors and battery, some turbines can operate in temperatures down to -30C.

Information on this sight clearly points out that cold weather icing is a challenge and they take steps to reduce the build up.

The pro-windmill people are blaming the failure of fossil fuels while ignoring the failures of windmills in Texas where wind power provides 23% of the power. On the opposite side the fossil fuel industry is blaming the wind turbines.
It stands to reason that as wind power replaces natural gas/coal and cuts into market share we will see less preventative maintenance, not more.
I live in a rural area where I cannot get natural gas and it has been that way since 1972 when I first moved in. There are people in my community that cannot get natural gas even though a pipeline runs through their property. Propane is the alternative but can be costly so we stick with the “all electric” alternative, which produces a strain on the electric grid, but whose fault is that?
Where are the government subsidies for the natural gas industry to get natural gas to rural homes? Government has a better interest in getting internet into rural homes more than natural gas or water.
Go to the interactive map showing where the windfarms are in the US and you will see that Texas has the lions share. In fact, it is bragging rights that the largest windfarms in the world exist in Texas.
Had the Wind turbines not failed they could have added to their bragging rights, but they failed and now there is nothing but excuses.



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