Fact Check: Wind Turbines Do NOT Need Their Oil Changed Every 500 Hours, Some Can Go Years

Fact Check

  • by: Arthur Brice
Fact Check: Wind Turbines Do NOT Need Their Oil Changed Every 500 Hours, Some Can Go Years Oil lasts more

Do wind turbines need the oil in their gearboxes changed every 500 hours? No, that's not true: Based on model types and in what geographical areas the turbines are located, oil change intervals can range from three to 10 years.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) published by Facebook on October 24, 2020. The posting took issue with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's wind energy policy. It opened:

Y'all do know the renewable energy "wind turbines" Joe talked about holds around 60 gallons of oil each in the gear box, yes 60 gallons, and has to be changed every 500 hours ...

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Oct 26 18:42:06 2020 UTC)

The post continued:

so it runs 10 hrs a day, 50 days, 7 oil changes a year, 420 gallons a year, each,, where ya getting the oil at Joe?? I guess he will buy oil from Saudi Arabia, china or another country ,,,,as long as the united States isn't drilling, What's Joe going to do about that?

Frequent harsh weather conditions and fairly non-stop operation require that wind turbines undergo routine maintenance. And as the Power Engineering news organization notes:

Proper turbine lubrication is an important part of that maintenance.

But changing gearbox lubricants every 500 hours is not part of that routine maintenance.

Energy Central News reported on January 30, 2017, that gearbox manufacturers have improved equipment reliability, leading to longer intervals between lubricant replacement:

And while gear lubricant replacement intervals have increased through the years, the 500-hour requirement does not appear to have been valid for decades, if ever. Power Engineering, established in 1896, reported on May 1, 2013, that the replacement interval is measured in years:

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  Arthur Brice

Arthur Brice is a fact checker at Lead Stories. He has been a journalist for more than 40 years, nearly 30 of them in newspapers. Brice was a national desk editor and reporter at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for nearly 20 years. Previously, he was political editor at The Tampa Tribune and also worked for three other Florida newspapers. He spent 11 Years as an executive editor and executive producer at CNN. 

Read more about or contact Arthur Brice

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