January 30, 2013

Wind turbines in the news

I had posted earlier today about the wind turbine collapse in England. Ran into this wonderful website detailing all the wind turbine accidents, fires, collapses, etc... Check out WIND TURBINE SAFETY:
While few would contend that turbines are a major threat to public safety (most deaths and injuries are suffered by those transporting, erecting and maintaining turbines), the wind industry is marked by both a reluctance to admit to accidents and a tendency to cover up the failings of the technology.

In the last five years there have been some 1,500 reported accidents/�incidents� in the UK resulting in 4 deaths and a further 300 injuries to workers.

Many accidents are not reported and examples of industry cover-ups abound.

The wind industry always tries to play down the frequency of turbine accidents: for example, in Cornwall in 2006, �Part of a wind turbine blade weighing more than half a ton snapped off and crashed into a field during high winds. Operators Cumbria Windfarms said the site has been running since April 1993 and nothing like this had happened there before.� It had, as several locals pointed out: in 1993, a month after the turbine park opened, they had had a similar accident.

Just recently, we had a spokesperson for Scottish Power quoted as saying of a blade accident at Whitelee, �This is a highly unusual situation. I've not heard of this kind of incident happening in 30 years.�

This may fool some of the public, but, as is evident from this page, blade failures are fairly common and there have been several instances just in the North East and Borders, when very few turbines were operating in the area.

The Danes are rather more honest. The Technical Approval Authority at the Ris� National Laboratory revealed in 2008 that they had recorded just the collapse of a wind turbine on 10 to 15 occasions in the previous three years. There were about 5,000 working turbines at the end of 2008.

A Dutch company whose core business is blade repair admits that, �Rotor blade lightning damage is a common problem.�.
Much more at the site -- it is UK centered but they list a lot of US incidents too. They post this wonderful little slide show (no audio):
Posted by DaveH at January 30, 2013 3:14 PM
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