When it comes to hurricane-like conditions, turbine maker Northern Power Systems says that its fleet of gearless turbines operate as designed. In fact, the turbine OEM says its fleet has achieved 1 million run-time hours without incident.
Proper design and control are essential for a renewable energy system to withstand challenging environmental conditions, such as a hurricane.
The company says that turbines' reinforced blades, triple braking system and gearless design are the key elements that have helped them withstand all types of weather and wind situations from the blustery conditions of Alaska to the windy shores of the Canadian Maritimes.
As a testament to the design and engineering behind Northern Power turbines, all 74 units in the path of Hurricane Sandy when it blasted through in November 2012 were undamaged by the high winds. Once conditions returned to normal, each turbine began to generate electricity.
According to the company, January 2013 brought severe gales and storm-force winds to all parts of the U.K., with gusts reaching 85 mph in northern Scotland, yet none of the Northern Power turbines in the UK were damaged.
When Hurricane Irene passed through the Bahamas in 2011, the storm left a trail of extensive damage resulting in steep monetary losses, particularly in the Caribbean. The island of Over Yonder Cay took a direct hit, notes Northern Power Systems, yet both of the company's 100 kW wind turbines were undamaged. When the turbine system detected high winds, the turbines entered into safe mode and returned to normal operation the following morning, the company notes.