Siemens Gamesa is having big wind turbine problems – why this is really bad

Siemens Gamesa reviewed its wind turbine fleet’s failure rates and discovered that it has much bigger problems than it thought – and that they could take years to fix.

Big wind turbine problems at Siemens Gamesa

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA – one of the largest wind turbine makers in the world – is Siemens Energy AG’s wind turbine unit.

Siemens Energy announced last night and today that, following a review of the company’s “failure rates of wind turbine components,” it found much bigger problems than it foresaw.

Siemens Gamesa CEO Jochen Eickholt told reporters today:

The result of the current review will be much worse than even I would have thought possible.

The quality problems go well beyond what had been known hitherto, in particular in onshore.

We are tackling the topic but it is time consuming and it comes at a cost.

Even though it should be clear to everyone, I would like to emphasise again how bitter this is for all of us.

The company’s Spanish division found that its onshore wind turbines had worse-than-expected quality flaws. The company will have to fix flaws in rotor blades and bearings, ranging from component failures to small cracks. Eickholt also cited problems with “legacy turbines,” without going into detail.

In terms of the scope of the problem, Reuters noted today that Siemens Gamesa is having “problems affecting up to 15-30% of the more than 132 gigawatts worth of turbines worldwide. Its total wind capacity is equivalent to around 132 nuclear plants.”

As a result of this bad news, the German-Spanish wind turbine giant has scrapped its annual profit guidance – that’s a company’s own best estimates to shareholders of its upcoming earnings – and it warned last night that additional costs to rectify its problems could be more than $1.1 billion. As a result, Siemens Energy shares dropped more than 37% in Frankfurt today.

Siemens Energy CEO Christian Bruch said in an analysts call that it would “use the fact that we will soon own 100% of Siemens Gamesa to drive this change so that it will become a reliable contributor to Siemens Energy’s results.”

Electrek’s Take

I’m more interested in the rollout and generation of clean energy than I am in the company’s financial results – but of course I know you need the money to have the rollout, so I hope Bruch is right.

The world needs this wind giant to get back on its feet as quickly as possible, because there’s an overwhelming demand for its products, and we can’t afford to lose even 15% of wind turbine supply.

There are numerous government and private wind projects that have signed on to utilize Siemens Gamesa’s turbines, and this major setback is really going to throw a spanner in the works.

I’ve covered a lot of Siemens Gamesa’s wind achievements (see below), and I am very disappointed to hear this news. I sincerely hope they can turn this situation around asap.

Bruch also said that he is “still convinced the energy transition can only be managed with the help of wind energy.” We at Electrek couldn’t agree more.

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