Weighing wind turbine blades; a local(ish) load cell stor

Published On: February 15 2021

We’re thrilled that we’re able to feature a local (ish) news story involving load cells, the Isle of Wight and the landmark former oil refinery at Fawley in Hampshire!

It also enables us to share our latest favourite trivia fact, so we’ll start with a teaser question: how many rotations of a wind turbine with three 80m blades would it take to power the average UK home for 29 hours?

A balancing act

Wind turbine blades may be the length of nine London buses, but they must be carefully balanced to operate at their maximum efficiency. Danish company MHI Vestas manufacture the 80metre/262ft long blades for their V164 wind turbine on the Isle of Wight at its base near Newport. The company established their R&D facility on the island in 2011, and design and test their wind turbine blades at the site.

Once the blades are complete, they are shipped across Southampton Water to the former Fawley power station site, to be painted and then weighed. The blades must be precisely weighed at the root and at the tip, and needless to say, it is load cells that do the job. The blades are lifted and wireless load cells placed below the lifting hooks to record the weight.

As James Perkins, site manager at MHI Vestas Fawley, said in an article for the Daily Echo:

“Accurate data capture allows us to precisely calculate the amount of ballast material needed for each blade, which is critical when blades are mounted and spinning on the offshore wind turbines. Accurate weighing allows us to reduce future (operation and maintenance) costs and ensure the blades are spinning as much as possible.”


The answer is…

It takes just a single rotation of an 80m three-bladed turbine to power an average home for up to 29 hours. Impressive!


Offshore installations and load cells

Offshore wind farms, oil platforms and other structures rely on load cells for a whole range of monitoring functions, and to be reliable in the harshest of environments. Check out our other articles on load cells at sea: