Indian wind turbine manufacturer Suzlon says it has completed its worldwide programme to strengthen and reinforce all blades of the V2 type on its S88-2.1 MW turbine fleet.

The company first discovered instances of cracks on the blade in the USA in late 2007 and has spent approximately $100 million on the retrofit operation.

“After receiving the first report of cracks in the S88-V2 blades, we immediately undertook a root cause analysis to identify the problem, devise a solution, and resolve the issue in a timely and cost-effective manner,” said Andy Cukurs, CEO of Suzlon Wind Energy Corporation.

“We believe we are the custodians of our customers’ investment and, in keeping with our commitment to our customers, decided to retrofit the entire S88 V2 fleet and replace the few cracked blades at our own cost to eliminate any possibility of further issues, no matter how small the chance.”

Suzlon’s retrofit programme involved the reinforcement of 1251 – or 417 sets – of S88-V2 blades around the world. It engaged Navigant Consulting to conduct an extensive root cause analysis examining all primary and secondary contributing causes to the blade crack issue.

The analysis revealed that the blade design had a weakness in the transition area, 6 m from the root of the blade.

To resolve the blade and cracking issue, Suzlon added three additional piles of fibreglass to the blade’s exterior in the transverse direction and one additional ply to the interior of the blade. Wind energy certification firm Germanischer Lloyd tested and certified the V2 blades to international standards.

Sian Crampsie

12 October 2009