A tale of two turbines: similar faults, different solutions

19th November, 2019

Turbine 1 – The difference between being in a fix and finding one 

When a 7 year old Endurance E3120 turbine suffered a major failure, a Yorkshire Dales farmer was left with an asset that was no longer producing revenue and which needed considerable work before it would do so again.

With no maintenance contract in place, he turned to us for advice, as suggested by a friend.

Natural Generation arranged a site visit which diagnosed two cracks in the bedplate, a common fault with these machines, and a few other issues. With the manufacturer long since out of business, Natural Generation were in a unique position to be able to advise the customer how to proceed. The turbine was installed while the tariff was still quite high, and had already paid for itself so the economics favoured a fix as quickly as possible.

We recommended a handful of other upgrades while the turbine was being worked on; we arranged for the unit to be craned off the following week and shipped to the workshop at head office. Less than 2 weeks later the machine was back where it should be, up and running and earning money.

Not only could we perform the work the turbine needed to get it up and running swiftly, with all parts held in stock we could then offer the customer complete peace of mind through our top of the range new Platinum support package which includes almost all labour and parts.

For the first time in years the farmer didn’t need to worry about the turbine. With a fully upgraded machine, and the maintenance contract in place, he could look forward to many years of trouble free running.



Turbine 2 – When it pays to wash your hands

Another customer had a similar set of faults occur in his Endurance turbine. But in this case, the turbine still had outstanding finance on it and the feed in tariff was lower. This made for a very different set of economics and a different course of action by the owner.

Again, we found that in addition to a cracked bedplate this turbine also needed a shaft upgrade and gearbox overhaul. Given the finance on the machine, the cost of the fix and upgrades just didn’t stack up.

Natural Generation is backed by a 130 year old family-owned investment house called the Constantine Group, part of which is Constantine Wind Energy. CWE has a large portfolio of wind turbines of its own and is always looking to add more.

In this case, the economics of the turbine did not justify the customer fixing the machine at his cost, but CWE were able to offer the customer a purchase deal which took the issue, and the turbine, off his hands, in return for a one-off lump sum and a yearly ground rent for the life of the turbine. 

The customer was happy to let someone else take over the management of the machine. The money he received from CWE allowed him to invest in new farm equipment and the ground rent will provide useful extra revenue for years to come.