The environmental damage caused by fossil fuels is being increasingly felt with each passing day. Climate change has further emphasized the importance of clean and renewable energy.
Turkey, rich in solar and wind resources, has started increasing the production of wind turbine blades.
According to Anadolu Agency’s report, the energy crisis arising from bottlenecks or price increases in global energy resources has increased the value of domestic energy sources while also necessitating the clean and renewable production of energy due to global climate change.
As a result, there has been an increasing interest in wind turbines in recent years. In Turkey, the share of wind energy in installed electricity capacity has approached 11% thanks to investments. The country’s wind energy capacity, which exceeds 11,400 megawatts, consists of power plants in 47 provinces.
İzmir, with its 1754.9 megawatts of installed capacity, has the highest installed capacity in wind energy in the country and stands out with its equipment production in this field.
There are 4 blade manufacturing facilities within 3 companies in İzmir. Blade production, which has been ongoing for approximately 22 years in the city, provides direct employment for over 6,000 people this year. The production generates a turnover of over $700 million and exports of more than $500 million. Approximately 4,000 blades are produced annually in İzmir, with over 75% of the production being exported.
The giant blades are produced with a millimeter-scale margin of error.
Wind turbines consist of four main components: the tower, generator, electronic components, and blades. The blades, which are the parts of the turbine that are exposed to the most movement and stress, are set in motion by the wind. The movement of the blades initiates the electricity generation process.
The production of blades involves labor-intensive work. The blades, which are of a size that a person can stand inside, are made from materials composed of multiple composite structures. The main materials used in production are fiberglass, carbon fiber, and resin.
The blades are manufactured in two shell-like parts. The molds for the shells can be as long as 60 or 80 meters, depending on the length of the blade. Fabrics are laid on the molds and secured with resin. The amount of fabric laid varies depending on the location on the shell, ranging from four layers to over a hundred layers.
After the shell stage, the process of preparing the surface of the blade begins. Sanding and connection processes are carried out in the relevant areas for mounting on the tower. Once the blade is painted, it is ready for shipment.
The average time for a blade to come out of the mold is around 24 hours, while the completion of all processes can take 1-2 weeks depending on the blade structure.
In these large structures created with manual labor, the margin of error is measured in millimeters. Rigorous inspections ensure that the structures, once installed on the turbine, will operate for 20-30 years and withstand speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour in certain areas.
The blades are exported to various parts of the world outside of China.
Alper Kalaycı, Chairman of the Board of Energy Industrialists and Businessmen Association (ENSİA), stated to an AA reporter that wind turbine blades are exported from Izmir to various regions worldwide, excluding China.
Kalaycı mentioned that the first wind turbines in Turkey were installed in Izmir 25 years ago. He stated, “The wind adventure actually started in Izmir. Over the course of these 25 years, Izmir has become the center of wind energy in Turkey. The company I am the CEO of made an investment decision in Izmir in 2001 due to its location in the windy regions and being a port city. From 2001 to the mid-2010s, we have established a significant ecosystem. A wind turbine blade consists of more than 1000 components. In the early years, all of these components were imported. Over time, we achieved localization up to 70%.”
Kalaycı emphasized that Izmir has become a global production hub for wind turbine blades, saying, “Izmir is the only city in the world with such a clustering, excluding China. There is no other city in Europe or America with as much employment and export as Izmir.”