Transporting Wind Turbine Blades: Extra Long Loads Now More Common
We now turn to the question of length. Until the advent of wind turbine blades, extra long loads were very much a rarity – normally associated with long concrete beams, refinery columns, gantry cranes etc.
In the early days, the length of turbine blades was fairly modest – increasing exponentially with the development of offshore farms, with manufacture taking place at a local port, for direct shipment out to sea. Having said that, STG remain heavily involved in movement of smaller blades (yet still extremely long) to onshore sites – a case in point being blades from Northern Ireland to France.
Once again, the question of manoeuvrability comes to the fore. To put this into perspective, blade lengths the equivalent of two trucks long are not uncommon (30m+), causing major problems when negotiating even the most standard of roundabouts. Once again, sophisticated steering mechanisms come into play – with a trailer steersman walking behind the trailer, making constant adjustments to the direction, in order to avoid colliding with street signs, lamp posts etc.
One of the more amusing episodes involved the delivery of a long load, to near Naples. There was no avoiding a particular hairpin bend, even steering systems were of limited use – thankfully the local fire brigade had a solution, using a technique they had developed in the past.