Considerations for Wind Turbines
New Designs/Larger Turbines
As the wind energy sector develops so too does the complexity of the designs and size of the wind turbines themselves. In the event of breakdown or damage to the wind turbine there are increasing concerns to insurance companies regarding the cost and speed of delivery of replacement parts due to the advances in technology and design.
Delivery of Equipment/Spare Parts
With many of the wind turbine sites being located in rural/remote areas insurance companies have experienced inflated claims payments due to the length of time of delivery of replacement parts in the event of a claim arising.
The replacement parts can be severely delayed in arriving to the wind turbine site due to planning considerations for road closures in order to get the equipment through small/rural villages, the availability of specialist vehicles in transporting the equipment has also led to significant delays of parts reaching the wind turbine site. These problems can be heightened in winter months where some of the wind farms will not be accessible by road.
Theft and Damage to Equipment
During the construction/erection phase of the of the wind farms insurance companies have experience theft and malicious damage to turbines and other parts. The parts are often left unattended with very little forms of security for long periods during construction.
Lack of Qualified/Experience Maintenance Workers
There would appear to be a lack of qualified/experienced workers who are able to maintain/repair wind turbine equipment. The lack of required skills has resulted in issues for insurance companies who are covering the operational risks of the plant.
Increasing Demand of Financial Institutions
With many wind farms being backed by financial institutions who are ultimately looking for good financial returns on their investment comes with it additional pressures on both the construction and operation of the wind farm.
Insurance companies have seen wind turbines not maintained adequately or regular enough due to the fact any downtime in the equipment subsequently leads to a reduction in return for the investors. Similarly insurance companies have witnessed wind farms installed under very tight time deadlines which have led to badly installed turbines and injury to employees.
Insurance companies have witnessed large delays in resourcing replacement parts particularly the larger parts such as the turbines themselves with manufacturers only making to order with many bottlenecks in the manufacturing process along the way.