Innovation and development are integral parts of the move towards a renewable future, but so is understanding the problems currently being faced by renewable energy developers. In light of this, GCube – a world leader in renewable energy insurance services – has released a report detailing, among other notes, the top 5 US wind energy insurance claims.
The report is based on data collected from 2012 US insurance claims, and shows that the top two claims reported against wind energy are blade damage and gearbox failure, accounting for 41.4% and 35.1% of the total claims respectively. Filling out the top 5 spots are reports regarding damage to generators, damage to transformers, and damage to the foundations.
The GCube reports notes that lightning strikes represent the most likely cause of wind turbine blade damage, but that delamination and improper handling during turbine construction and installation are frequent enough issues as to be of some concern. Poor maintenance, beyond the initial construction and installation of a wind turbine, is itself a problem especially in the wake of any damage, and is specifically a cause behind gearbox failure.
“While the industry can do little to reduce the risk of lightning strikes, we are pleased to see some of our insureds working with manufacturers and O&M providers to add blade assurance programs to their maintenance agreements that cover the repair or replacement of a blade damaged by lightning in light of the frequency of this natural occurrence,” said John McLane, GCube President.
Insurance claims dealing with a turbine’s foundation run the highest, averaging $1,300,000 and pushing up to $2,500,000 in “exceptional circumstances”. Lower on the table are gearbox claims which average $380,000 and turbine blade claims which cost approximately $240,000.
Providing data such as this is not only of benefit to industry manufacturers, but also to the insurance industry itself. Since 2008 GCube has paid out in excess of $200,000,000 in claims to the renewable energy sector, and according to GCube “the majority of this figure