Siemens, a major manufacturer of wind turbines, has seen their stock value plummet 37% in the last couple of days. The reason? Premature failure of components in their wind turbines. By Siemens own admission, these failures include blade failures. What that means for you and me is blade throws–a catastrophic failure of a wind turbine where a 15,000+ pound blade flies off the hub and travels for up to 1,600 feet before hitting the ground. If you’re lucky that is. If you’re not, it might hit your house or your barn. Even worse, loss of a turbine blade unbalances a turbine in the same way as an out of balance washing machine, meaning the entire tower will collapse after loss of one of the turbine blades.
Siemens estimates that 30% to 40% of their existing fleet is subject to this problem and it will cost $1.6 billion dollars to fix.
Siemens is not the only wind turbine vendor facing problems right now. Vestas, another major player in the wind power industry, has been in a downward spiral for a long time. According to Forbes, some stock analysts warn that their profit margins could reach 0% in the near future because of outdated offshore wind turbines.