Blades USA 2024 Agenda:

This year's event promises an exceptional lineup of industry thought leaders and technical experts who will share their insights and experiences. By attending, you will gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the wind power sector, as well as the tools and strategies needed to overcome them. Join us to discover the latest breakthroughs in blade design, learn about emerging technologies, and explore the possibilities that lie ahead.



Join us on Sunday 18th for a pre-event drinks reception, setting the stage for an inspiring 2 day conference. Unwind and connect with fellow industry enthusiasts in a relaxed atmosphere, surrounded by the anticipation of Blades USA 2024. Sip on refreshing beverages and engage in conversations that will pave the way for meaningful connections. Let the networking begin as we kick off the event on a social note, creating a foundation for collaboration and knowledge exchange. Cheers to a memorable start to Blades USA 2024

08:00 - 09:00

Registration opens

09:00 - 09:05

Chair’s opening remarks

09:05 - 09:40

The future of wind power in the US

Where is the US wind industry now? What do project pipelines look like today? To what extent will the talk of the offshore wind boom become reality? How are new regulations like the IRA  impacting project development and product innovation? How large will wind turbine blades become? How will deep grid decarbonization impact wind turbine and blade design?


09:40 - 10:00

Artificial intelligence and machine learning as part of daily operations

10:00 - 10:30

Managing data to mitigate the need for repairs

Improving the interpretation of collected data to better inform repair strategies by better managing data in flow, successfully running cross-platform data analysis and appropriately evaluating different pieces of data to how to prioritize and respond.

Networking break


11:10 - 11:30

Wind of change: robotics and data revolutionizing blade maintenance

11:30 - 11:50

Maintenance data characterization for actionable blade health management

As of 2022, EPRI began collecting data on wind turbine blade anomalies (which includes damages and defects) and failures. The anomaly data in the EPRI blade database is primarily acquired via drone-based visual inspections, and the failure data is primarily obtained from failure reports, repair reports, and root cause analysis (RCA) reports. The collected data includes images, severity ranking, and other vital anomaly descriptors for over 11,000 wind turbines across the globe.

The most recent updates and major findings from EPRI’s blade damage and failure database will be shared, including a breakdown of the most common anomaly types in the database by severity, blade length, and damage location. Empirical blade failure data and Weibull statistics will be shared where applicable.

EPRI’s proposed blade nomenclature dictionary of commonly encountered blade anomalies will be shared, based on the current state of the industry.

The results of this study are intended to be utilized for better understanding of best practices in wind turbine blade O&M. The goal of this presentation is to illustrate the necessity of the development of a structured approach to understanding blade condition, identifying anomalies, and prioritization of repairs driven by data, knowledge, and experience.

11:50 - 12:10

Digital twins for decision support in the wind turbine blade life-cycle: manufacturing, operation, and end-of-life

Networking lunch



13:25 - 13:45

CASE STUDY: Ending a long-term FSA

Take a look at pros and cons of ending a long-term FSA, what strategy we took and how it has worked out so far.

13:45 - 14:25

PANEL: Building inspection and maintenance strategies that reduce downtime and extend the life of the blade

Ensuring that you are on top of your turbine performance is key to intervening before a full-scale shutdown. How can you best evaluate damages? How can you better catalog and track defects? How do you best protect from lightning, ice and other adverse weather? Ensuring you know when it is advantageous to shut the turbine down vs letting damage run. Make sure you are up to speed with using automation, drone-based inspections, blade modifications and predictive maintenance tools to inform proactive repairs.

14:25 - 14:45

Recent developments in leading edge protection

Leading Edge Erosion (LEE). An industry challenge on blades as tip speed increases and turbines operate under even more extreme weather conditions. Listen to the market leader in Leading Edge Protection Polytech and Material Scientist Michael Drachmann Haag on what drives LEE, how many turbines worldwide are affected, the benchmark of different LEP solutions, and how Polytech tests and verifies its solutions.

Networking break


15:15 - 15:55

SNAPSHOT PANEL: Novel approaches to advanced and complex repairs

Assessing what new tools, equipment and solutions are available now like new materials, robotics, standardization and automation to reduce downtime when repairs need to be made. Short presentations will be followed by a joint Q&A session. 

15:55 - 16:25

A case for paradigm shift in composite training

One challenge facing the wind industry, maintaining blades in operating order, has proven to be bigger than expected. With growing backlogs of highly specialized composite repairs and more predictable maintenance issues, It’s apparent a major bottleneck is a lack of qualified composite technicians operating grinders, performing quality scarfs and chamfers.

In this talk we discuss the lifecycle of a blade technician career, and the challenges of hiring, training and retention. Calling for a paradigm shift, we discuss strategies to recognize talent and maximize knowledge and skill attainment. Solutions explored include rural sourcing for talent, mitigating the seasonal nature of the business, and collaboration with blade manufacturers to develop best practices at the repair type or campaign level.

16:25 - 16:45

Advanced lightning protection

"A Blade Coating that Reduces Wind Turbine Blade Damage Caused by Lightning".

Lightning damage stubbornly remains a major O&M expense for wind farm owner-operators. Damage such as blade skin punctures, shell delamination, split trailing edges, and occasionally catastrophic destruction are costly to repair and cause significant downtime. Arctura’s new ArcGuide® blade coating improves the effectiveness of the surface-mounted lightning receptors, making it more likely that lightning will attach safely to the receptors and less likely that it will attach directly to the down conductor or other internal blade components. In this presentation, Chris will review the genesis of the concept, the development and validation process, and he will review our ongoing wind farm field tests.


16:45 - 17:05

What does circularity look like for blades?

With blades being the least green part of a wind turbine, how could circularity be achieved in the future? Are new materials the answer? If so, where are we with that research? Is recycling technology for waste management of traditional blades feasible? How would the LCoE be impacted by measures to make blades circular? How will upcoming repowering affect the future of blade disposal? How are US regulations changing?

Chair’s closing remarks

Close of conference and networking drinks reception


09:10 - 10:10

PANEL: Bigger blades, bigger problems?

How will scaling blade size for multi-megawatt turbines impact on your ability to get the best AEP? What innovations are needed in the design, manufacture, installation and transport of larger blades? How can you ensure blade lifetime longevity? In what ways will you need to adjust your inspection and repair strategies?

10:10 - 10:40

The importance of proactive blade due diligence

Networking break


11:10 - 11:40

The future of land-based wind turbine technology: the perspective from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The Big Adaptive Rotor (BAR) Project looks at potential innovative pathways for future land-based wind turbine technology. BAR is led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and is sponsored by the Wind Energy Technology Office of the US Department of Energy. This talk will describe innovations and challenges faced by the teams working on BAR. The innovations include numerical models predicting the stability and performance of highly flexible blades, downwind rotors to maximize wind farm power, and controlled bending of 100-meter-long blades during rail transport. The challenges of developing predictive numerical models and formulating successful value propositions supporting new technologies such as distributed aero control devices will also be discussed.


11:40 - 12:00

PANEL: Innovation Spotlight

In just 1 hour you will hear from several leading innovators in the blade space to make sure you are up to date with the latest solutions and know what to look out for in the future. After several lightning-fast presentations you will get the chance to put your questions to the experts.

Networking lunch



13:45 - 14:45


Networking and content in one package! Take this opportunity to delve into the topics that most impact your day-to-day work and really get to grips with solutions to your challenges. Small group discussions with an expert facilitator; choose your topic and get talking!

Blade maintenance standards
Alli Gallagher, Principal Structural Engineer, Wind Fleet Blades & Structures, NextEra Energy

What is the optimal approach to increasing blade OP-excellence and minimizing blade OP-expenditure?
Ken Lee, Fleet Engineering Manager, EDF Renewables

Blade recycling - environmental imperative but does it make financial sense?Pasquale Braione
Pasquale Braione, Lead Director, Head Of Global Repair Operations, Vestass

Increasing OPex Risks:

Manufacturing process/quality issues common to field experiences.

Experience/shortages in blade O&M workforce & skills development.

New technologies – jointed blades, LEP coatings/molded shells, complex LPS.

Minimizing OPex:

Increased technical due diligence on new blades/technology.

Tailoring blade strategy with risk of damages & handling of serial issues – Inspection (drones, LPS, internal rover) & repair (Erosion/LEP, Temporary repairs, UV cure repairs).

Blade monitoring with latest innovations in sensors.

Chair’s closing remarks

14:55 - 14:50

Close of conference