Northern Power Systems Wind Turbines Survive Hurricane-Speed Winds

With turbines operating in extreme wind regimes such as the Caribbean and northern Scotland, Northern Power Systems has announced that its fleet of gearless turbines that experience hurricane-speed winds has achieved 1 million run time hours, all without incident. That is equivalent to a cumulative 114 years of continuous, safe, high-performance operation.


Proper design and control are essential for a renewable energy system to withstand challenging environmental conditions. Reinforced blades, triple braking system, and a gearless design are the key elements that make Northern Power turbines the most reliable small wind turbines available today. They have safely handled all types of weather and wind situations from the blustery conditions of Alaska to the windy shores of the Maritime Provinces of Canada. Northern Power’s entire fleet of gearless turbines, with over 2.5 million combined run hours, has performed with a track record of zero incidents. These turbines represent the most recent generation of proven technology from Northern Power Systems, a company whose roots date back almost 40 years and which has successfully deployed hundreds of other turbines during its long history, achieving over 10 million run time hours.


As a testament to the design and engineering behind Northern Power turbines, all 74 units in the path of Hurricane Sandy when it blasted through in November 2012 were undamaged by the high winds. Once conditions returned to normal, each turbine started generating electricity again. “We knew the machine would experience a hurricane eventually, but we never imagined it would happen the first year,” said Ron Masters, Commissioner of Conservation and Waterways for the Town of Hempstead, NY. “We chose the NPS 100 for its reliability and ruggedness, knowing it would meet the needs of the town’s renewable energy education and outreach mission. The turbine’s performance to date has exceeded our highest expectations.”


The last week of January 2013 brought severe gales and storm force winds to all parts of the United Kingdom, with gusts reaching 85 mph in northern Scotland, yet none of the Northern Power turbines in the UK were damaged.


On August 24, 2011, Hurricane Irene (a category 3 major hurricane) passed through the Bahamas, leaving behind a trail of extensive damage resulting in monetary losses in the Caribbean estimated to be as high as $3.1 billion. The island of Over Yonder Cay took a direct hit, yet despite the strength of the storm that toppled other wind turbines on the island, both Northern Power 100 kW wind turbines were undamaged. The NPS turbines did what they were designed to do: they entered into safe mode after detecting high winds and returned to normal operation the following morning.


“We initially purchased Northern Power’s NPS 100 because of the high reliability and low sound profile, both a result of the permanent magnet direct drive generator design. After the NPS 100’s survived Hurricane Irene we purchased a third turbine because it was clear that the NPS 100 lived up to the high standards that were advertised,” said Mike McGuire, Site Manager, Over Yonder Cay.


Hundreds of Northern Power wind turbines have been installed globally, generating clean renewable energy day by day while offsetting more than 50,000 tons of CO2.


Northern Power Systems is a fully integrated company that designs, manufactures, and sells wind turbines into the global marketplace from its headquarters in Vermont, USA, with European headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland and a significant presence in the United Kingdom and Italy. (5/20/13)