Wind Turbine Blade Sizes & Transport: A Guide

April 15th, 2022

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Truck transporting a wind turbine blade driving away from a field of wind turbines.

It’s not easy transporting wind turbines; relocating wind turbines can take close to a year of planning and up to ten loads. Many turbines are manufactured domestically and abroad; however, they are usually trucked to their final destination. When talking about a wind turbine blade transport trailer, the components consist of hauling a wind turbine, including wind turbine blades size, towers, and more.

It’s critical to hire a provider that can manage all your wind turbine transportation requirements. The machinery used for wind turbines is oversized, heavy, and needs an informed strategy for a successful delivery. You should look into working with a transportation provider that offers competitive heavy equipment and freight quotes. Being aware of the industry will save you a lot of money.

Follow our lead as we break down everything you need to know about wind turbine transport, industry demands, average wind turbine blade length, and more to ensure you have the equipment you need on time – every time.

The Growing Popularity of Wind Turbine Transportation

One of the world’s largest and fastest-growing wind energy markets is in the United States. The Energy Department invests in wind energy research and development projects to expand technology advancements, generate jobs, and enhance economic growth to be competitive in this area. The wind energy sector in the United States has invested roughly $143 Billion in new projects during the last decade.

Going forward, to diversify our energy economy and bring the next generation of American-made clean energy technology to market, the size of turbine blades has increased dramatically. This is most likely tied to domestic wind power meeting increase predictions reaching 12.7 gigawatts (GW) in 2019, topping the previous six years’ annual capacity additions. Changes in the production tax credit a few years ago have also led to driving this size increase.

How Much Does It Cost to Transport a Wind Turbine Trailer?

Hauling wind components is a hazardous and time-consuming task. A significant factor in shipping turbines is the matter of final cost. Transportation takes up a portion of the budget in upfront costs and depends on the products that need to be moved. This is because the majority of the cost and logistical obstacles come mostly from product size.

After all of the effort, completing a wind turbine transport is a prize in and of itself. For short-haul wind turbine shipments, average charges are roughly $30,000 to $40,000 per turbine. At a much higher price point, long-haul wind shipments can cost more than $100,000.

Wind energy farms looking to stand up a wind turbine need to note in their budget a single wind turbine blade goes for $2.6-4 million on average. While using fewer, larger turbines can be beneficial, the cost rises as the wind turbine blade sizes increase. The advantages to using fewer, larger turbines are the complexity and construction of the whole site.

The number of vehicles required to transport a single turbine, as well as the necessity to coordinate people across state and county lines, make the procedure more complicated. Because a turbine’s large weight restricts mobility and may even rule out specific routes, other transport tactics may be mapped out to make the process possible.

The pick-up-deliver cycle can be taxing for drivers, who are frequently separated from their families for long stents of time. Wind energy contracts often necessitate shipping 10 or more full wind turbines per week. For these reasons, wind turbine blade trailer drivers have to be some of the best in class.

What Sizes Are Wind Turbines?

Graphic showing three different wind turbines of various sizes, and there individual energy output.

Wind energy is harvested in categories of distributed wind, utility wind, and off-shore wind. The area size that needs to be powered will be the deciding factor of the size of wind turbines that needs to be used. Looking at Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWT), proper setup will take being in alignment with the wind. Let’s look at the three sizing differences in wind turbines:

1. 120-215 Feet Towers

These towers usually generate less than 100kW, which are considered small and primarily for household needs. They’re also more popular for the fewer land and monetary investment required in comparison to the larger wind turbines. These sizes are more profitable and are cost-effective, meeting customer coverage needs. If you’re off the grid or in a remote area, this size wind turbine with be suitable for you.

2. 215-275 Feet Towers

Average-sized towers like these generate between 100kW to 1MW. This is the average size used in the US. The range in height is just tall enough to produce power for a community. Most sites have strong winds well above ground level to make this clean energy harvesting possible.

3. 280 Feet or More Towers

This level is the tallest and largest set of wind turbines. The largest towers generate on average 7.8 to 8.8MW. The monstrous size is usually needed for offshore wind turbines. This large-scale power puts off several megawatts to be distributed over larger regions.

How Do You Transport A Wind Turbine?

Graphic showing the steps to take when attempting to transport a wind turbine blade.

In terms of electrical energy, we live in an “energy-demanding” country. With the various ways to create electricity, each one comes with its own set of difficulties. With wind turbines, it must be delivered to the wind farm site from the port of entry or the manufacturer. Some parts even need to be disassembled for shipping. However, the blades must be delivered in one piece.

On average wind turbine blades’ size are 116 feet in length. They are still manageable for truck transportation at this length. However, the truck transportation infrastructure has been challenged by the development toward larger, taller wind generators with blades approaching 200 feet long.

To dive into what steps to take when transporting wind turbines, look to this list of three steps that will lead to a successful delivery of wind turbines and additional products:

1. Research the Type of Wind Turbine You Need Transported

Take a look at the wind turbine you need transported. Does it have extra products that need to be shipped separately? Know it’s origin so you can figure out how long it will take to ship, and if it will take more than transport by wind turbine trailers. This way you can budget and schedule the transport accordingly.

2. Finding the Best Wind Turbine Blade Transport Trailer

You’ll need to research for wind turbine transporters who have access to trucks with flatbed trailers that can handle the oversized equipment’s size and weight. It takes a lot of planning on the side of your logistics company to transport one big wind turbine blade. A wind turbine blade trailer may need the use of a multi-axle trailer to transport such long, hefty blades. This will be the wisest option since a commercial wind turbine can take up to seven rigs just to complete a delivery.

3. Securing the Proper Wind Turbine Trailers

Wide-load trailers can hold longer, heavier loads, but navigating with them is more difficult. When a sharp turn is required, the tires, wheels, and suspensions, as well as the surface, are subjected to additional wear and tear. The demand for oversized parts may exceed available trucking resources such as power units, trailers, and even drivers. With the current growth rate of the energy industry, the highway infrastructure to support loads of the size and weight of newer wind generators is working the trucking industry over time.

Preparing To Transport A Wind Turbine?

According to the Global Wind Energy Council, 10,000 additional wind turbines will need to be installed over the next two decades to keep up with the demand for wind energy, which is growing at least 10 percent per year. A single wind turbine can reach heights of over 328 feet. Their weights and dimensions frequently surpass infrastructural constraints in the United States. This is what makes wind turbines costly, time-consuming, and difficult to coordinate.

One of the most important components of turbine blade shipping, aside from route planning and coordinating the suitable wind blade trailer  for the voyage, is obtaining the proper road transport permits. The average wind turbine blade length and weight play a role here, as a turbine blade’s heaviness and excessive length often qualify it as an oversized shipment. Permits for oversized shipments frequently include the following seven requirements:

  • Escort services in accordance with state laws
  • Financial guarantee like a surety bond established
  • Load dimension diagrams
  • Review of traffic patterns
  • Seasonal factors like inclement weather
  • Survey of routes for proper clearance
  • Test run of the haul, if possible

Route planners frequently seek the quickest, most cost-effective mode of delivery. Routes for carrying wind turbine blades, on the other hand, often need to be altered. Some routes are impractical due to the wind turbine blades size. Each state’s regulations for shipping oversized equipment may have an impact on which highways you can use.

Loading a Beast-Sized Wind Turbine with Hale Trailer

Transportation excellence for wind turbines can be made easy and efficient. With the increased demand for renewable wind energy, factors that disrupt efficient shipping have been examined using current analysis in the context of a wind turbine. The risk of the experience pays off. 

With wind turbine blade dimensions nearly as tall as the Statue of Liberty, transporting such large equipment safely and efficiently across long distances requires smart preparation. Whatever the future holds, funding will almost certainly have an impact on a project’s overall economic success.

Do you have an oversized shipment that has to be carried over a long distance? Are you looking for a dependable wind blade trailer  to get the job done? Please contact us so that we may connect you with one of our trusted shipping experts. Also, learn more about shipping with our exceptional line-up of blade trailers, Schnable trailers, or Faymonville trailers. For more information on how we can work for you, browse our inventory online or visit one of our locations.

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