Wind Turbines Operate 97% of the Time

11/30/2012 |

Database aims to decrease wind turbine down time

Wind turbine generation availability is at 97%, up from 94.8% in 2011.

Have you ever seen a wind turbine standing still and wondered how often it is down? U.S. wind turbines are only offline 3% of the time, despite the possibilities of delays caused by maintenance or repairs. Generation availability is also up 2.2% from 2011, finds Sandia National Laboratories in their annual Wind Plant Reliability Benchmark report.

To allow wind turbine operators to compare their output to similar operations, Sandia has created a Continuous Reliability Enhancement for Wind (CREW) database that houses data from over 800 wind turbines.

“With better understanding of how major turbine systems are performing, wind operators can focus on improving those areas that will drive increased reliability and efficiency,” says Sandia researcher and CREW team lead Alistair Ogilvie.

The data will also outline which turbine components are the most vulnerable so owners can focus on preventive maintenance. The costs associated with a turbine going offline add up quickly.

The owner not only loses productivity, but the cost of hiring a crane for repairs can be upward of $250,000. There may also be significant delays as there are few cranes nationally that can handle turbine heights and component weights.

The CREW Database Wind Turbine Reliability Benchmark and the annual report are available at

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