Winds of Change

Rapid growth in the renewable-energy sector provides plenty of opportunities—but the unique risks can burn

As both the price for and controversy around fossil fuels continue to grow, renewable-energy risks are becoming an increasingly standard part of many insurers’ portfolios—with wind and solar leading the green-power pack, far ahead of biomass production and hydroelectricity.

Wind, in fact, is one of the world’s fastest-growing energy-related industries: 39,404 megawatts (MW) of wind power was added worldwide in 2010, and the total installed wind-generation capacity globally grew by 25 percent from 2009 figures.

“We love to see people jumping into the wind-turbine market to get that extra capacity—and to write those deals that we don’t really want to write,” he adds.

Each of a turbine’s three blades is as long as a football field and is hollow to permit a technician to walk inside for repairs. Winds may blow from zero mph to 200 mph, and the amount of torque hitting the turbines combined with flying bits of sand and soil can wreak havoc.

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