Victorian Country Fire Authority’s Claim that Wind Turbines Not Combustible Scorched

senate review
They thought they’d heard it all …


During the Senate Inquiry’s first hearing into the great wind power fraud, the Committee had to listen to a number of wind industry backed patsies and stooges.

Among them were a pair from Victoria’s Country Fire Authority (CFA): Craig Brownlie (Operations Officer, Specialist Response) and Andrew Andreou (Executive Manager, Community Infrastructure).

When the pair were quizzed by Senator David Leyonhjelm on the “cause of the East Kilmore fire on Black Saturday [2009] and how many people died in it” (one of the worst bushfires in Victoria’s history and the subject of very public findings given after a lengthy Royal Commission) they both drew blanks, asked if they could “phone a friend”, and take the question on notice.

So comforting to hear that the Victorian CFA’s Top Brass have such a solid grip on their brief! For a frightening (for those who place faith in their fire authorities and their ability to protect them and their properties) trip into the bizarre, see the Hansard here.

Things went from the sublime to the ridiculous, as the CFA boys tried to downplay the risk of turbines spontaneously combusting – a tough ask, given the hundreds of pyrotechnic meltdowns recorded both here and around the world:

BUSHFIRE RED ALERT: Wind Power Really Is Setting the World on FIRE

But it was this exchange in which Andrew Andreou’s limited grip on reality came to the fore, as he was caught out parroting the wind industry line on turbine fires, that really caught the Committee’s attention:

Senator BACK: Do you have any idea of what the volume of oil would be up in the top of the wind turbines? It is probably the oil more than plastics that are likely to burn.

Mr Andreou: I am aware that non-combustible oils are generally used these days for lubricant, hydraulics and the like. That is the type. I could not give you exact figures on the quantities. I know that they are significant quantities, but, no, I could not provide you with the detail of the exact quantities.

CHAIR: You said that the oil is non-combustible. Would you be able to take on notice what that statement is based on, gentlemen? What information do you have to rely on that it is not combustible oil used in the gearboxes of the turbines?

Mr Andreou: We have been reliant on the information provided by the facility managers or owners.

CHAIR: Would you take that on notice and come back to the committee with where that information has been obtained from?

Mr Andreou: That is fine; we will do that.

Hansard, 30 March 2015

turbine fire 3
Could that be 1,000L of “non-combustible”
gear oil going up in a pall of smoke, perchance?


The “information” that Andrew Andreou was relying on came from none other than struggling Danish fan maker, Vestas, you know the boys who ran around a couple of years back telling us all to “Act on Facts” (see our post here).

Well, here’s a few that the CFA boys missed. A Vestas V112 3MW turbine – the kind used at Macarthur – holds the following “chemicals”, according to their specifications:

V112 chemicals 2

The hydraulic system has about 100 litres of hydraulic fluid in reserve; and to keep the gearbox lubricated requires 1,170 litres of gear oil; which sits in the gearbox sump and a reservoir (“external gravity tank), all housed in the nacelle:

V112 gear oil2

The CFA’s claims that 1,000 (or more) litres of gear oil won’t explode in a thrilling pyrotechnic display are pure bunkum.

As STT followers know, we just love FACTS – the more graphic, the more bloody, the better.

So here’s a little video, and some snaps, from Estonia of a recent turbine “flame-out”, that tends to undermine the CFA’s upbeat fire safety predictions about wind turbines, in general; and its ludicrous – wind industry backed – claim that a tonne of gear oil and hydraulic fluid has the same combustibility as H2O:

fire and chunks main components liberated more spots non flammable spot fires turbine fire

17 thoughts on “Victorian Country Fire Authority’s Claim that Wind Turbines Not Combustible Scorched

  1. Pingback: love Help
  2. Hi! We are looking for images of wind turbines on fire. Would you be willing to give permission for us to use your images on educational materials?

    Thank you!

  3. The delusional Green myth that the ‘industrial wind turbine’ is the virgin child of Mother Gaia sent to earth for our environmental and energy salvation is not backed up by the facts. STT has laid out the details in article after article. Thank you STT!

    Rather the IWT is the bastard child of a Jim Jones style government funded corporate ponzi scheme that feeds the sentiment of Green (and green) sychophants who would rather sell their children (or give them organic lime kool-aid) rather than face up to their misguided worship of the eco-crucifixes which can ‘do no wrong’.

    The Vic CFA reps in the article appear to be adherants. Or perhaps they are simply ignorant?

    It is now up to the independant senators to act on the plain facts. And to call for a Royal Commission into this corporate and public health atrocity. It is clear that this abusive industry, its deluded followers, and its constantly maligned victims deserve nothing less than the truth. And for justice to prevail.

  4. Aircraft flying low over the Cape Bridgewater wind farm (and our rooftop) has been an ongoing issue of concern, particularly considering proximity of the turbines to the busy little Portland Airport.

    The Portland airport has said any concerns must be expressed to the CASA Civil Aviation and Safety Authority.

    Take a look at the website for policies on wind farms and aviation safety; then please tell STT and the greater public if you find anything reassuring in relation to safety in the skies above turbines.

    1. Yes Melissa in addition to the obvious risk of collision, aircraft face another less understood, but no less real hazard when flying near wind turbines namely wake turbulence. This example from an experienced pilot serves to illustrate the dangers of flying anywhere near wind turbines.

      More on this issue can be found at this site Wind Turbine Wake Plumes are a Hazard to Aviation Safety – Affordable Safety.

      This article by the Australian Industrial Wind Turbine Awareness Group also explains some of the hazards associated with aerial fire fighting near wind turbines Communities Burned by Turbines.

      Experienced pilots certainly seem to have concerns about the way in which CASA is addressing (or not addressing) the aviation hazards associated with wind turbines.

  5. A wind farm developer had the cheek (stupidity) to a direct question from me about the known impossibility of aerial fire fighting in and and around turbines during a major bush fire.
    His reply, you have to work hard to believe it, ” it’s o.k they can fly in and and around the Turbines”.

    I pointed out that there would likely be strong winds, fast moving flames and a hell of a lot of smoke and that he was talking a lot of garbage. His reaction? Silence and a blank look on his face!!

  6. The unhealthy relationship that exists between the ALP and the militant trade unions was blatantly on show at the Victorian state election last November. During the election we saw groups of fire fighters union members (not CFA volunteers I might add) dressed in fake uniforms, allegedly, intimidating voters at polling booths.

    Since the election of the Andrews Labor government, we’ve seen the extensive rearrangement of the CFA’s top brass. We’ve seen the sacking of 135 skilled professionals from state water authority boards, clearing the way for the Labor mates; and we’ve seen the Victoria Police chief Key Lay “stand down” to spend time on family matters, only to re-emerge a couple of months later to take up appointment as chairman of a new national task force on the drug problem.

    So the CFA’s sweetheart relationship with the Andrew’s government comes as no surprise: “yes sir, yes sir, three bags full” sadly is now par for the course.

    Under this new regime the gagging of staff of the Aviation Services Unit, the government agency providing aerial support to the CFA and the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP, formerly DEPI, formerly etc, etc) is unsurprising.

    But perhaps one of the best indicators of the the real attitude of independent aviators, still able to freely express their opinion concerning the hazards presented by giant fans is the stated policy of the Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia (AAAA):

    Windfarms and their pre-construction wind monitoring towers are a direct threat to aviation safety – and especially aerial application. They also pose an economic threat to the industry where the costs of windfarm development—including those of compensation for loss of income —are externalized onto other sectors such as aerial application.”

    As Stop These Things reported:

    In this short video interview, Col [Dooley] shares his fears for the future as aerial fire-fighting and weed control will no longer be possible in the vicinity of the turbines.”

    There have been a few lapses in governments’ “Sgt. Schultz defences”. Take this instance from South Australia for example, relating to a wind turbine fire at Starfish Hill wind farm when CFS firefighters were told by Work Safe “You could go no closer than a kilometre away.”

    As for the comment by Mr Andreou of the CFA that “non-combustible oils are generally used these days for lubricant, hydraulics and the like”, one has to question whether such “non-combustible” oils present a toxic hazard.

    There were endless assurances years ago when non-combustible transformer oils came into common use in the electrical industry. But those non-flammable PCB oils became a toxic disaster that continues to this day.

    Given the obfuscation and lies peddled by governments, government agencies and other wind industry apologists, why should anyone believe them?

  7. After what the “Fire Authority” did during the last election, what do any of us expect? They have shown their true colours and I do not have any respect for them anymore.

  8. A number of questions need to be asked.

    Why does it appear that the CFA in Victoria, and the equivalent, Country Fire Service in South Australia do whatever they can to downplay and dismiss the obvious dangers of Industrial Wind Turbines in rural Australia?

    The State government in South Australia collects from ratepayers the Emergency Services Levy, which then goes to fund the CFS and other emergency bodies.

    The S.A Labor government has proudly boasted about having the aim of generating 50% of our energy needs with renewable energy in the not too distant future.

    In code this means generating power by IWT’s, as any other means is not possible or practical.

    The Labor government is the political wing of the union movement, which has billions of dollars invested in Wind generation through companies such as Pacific Hydro.

    In this state Aerotech is the aviation company which has the majority of contracts to supply aerial fire fighting support with their water bombers.

    Aerotech and it’s pilots are forbidden to speak publicly in any way, shape or form, of their contractual arrangements with the CFS.

    Aerotech are the contractors, using the exact same aircraft, that do all agriculture spraying on Yorke Peninsula, where the infamous Ceres Wind project has gained approval from the state Labor government, even though it has failed to meet over 50 conditions of approval.

    How does a planning department and planning minister approve a project, that has failed to meet conditions of approval and has had years to meet them?

    Why have a planning act at all?

    Why does a government give major development status to a project that cannot possibly considered to be critical infrastructure, and which takes away any legal rights of those who have this abomination forced upon them?


    1. This can happen in SA because the Government believes it has no need to justify its actions. For years it has honed this approach to Governing this State and got away with it.

      Support from wayward Independents has, and is, still supporting the approach. They will never accept they are wrong; and that they have wasted millions of dollars of our money and caused immense hardship and pain. All they do is blame the other person.

      The Ministerial dictated changes to Development Plans is a prime example of how they get away with ignoring anything but what they want to do.

      They used an excuse to saunter in the changes by blaming the win in the ERD court on Visual Amenity grounds brought by Richard Paltridge; stopping the Allendale East Acciona nightmare, when they had these changes ready for months, but needed an excuse to act on them.

      We could have thought things may have got better when Rann was sent packing by his own party. But, no, Weatherill is no different. Should we have expected anything else? After all he was the Minister who approved the Aldinga/Sellicks Beach proposal years ago against his own Department’s advice.

      Mind I had a good giggle when I listened to the recording of the ABC Press Club talk by Warwick Anderson from the NHMRC when one of the questioners said in starting a comment – Premier of SA Mike Rann …………

      A few years down the track and a National Press person hasn’t noticed the change – have we!!!!!

  9. These two boofheads representing Victoria’s fire fighters are simply maintaining the 100% strike rate of authoritative bodies in this country in respect to wind turbines: ie 100% strike rate of listening to and believing propaganda, without making a single enquiry of people outside the industry; and without exercising one iota of independent thought. They are a disgrace.

  10. A good example of how Factual Accounts Can Transcend Stupidity and overcome the Foolish Actions Causing Tantrums amongst the industry and its supporters.

  11. Turbines do still operate on high fire danger days and when bush fires are burning out of control. Property owner and host has been seen (and heard) doing a huge ‘burn off’ beneath the Southern turbines of the CBWF.

    I’ll bet the smoke from burn offs does nothing beneficial for maintenance crews working in confined spaces.

    Also wondering; as a turbine burns, explodes or melts away does CFA members insurance cover them and at what distance. We have heard that fire fighters are not allowed due to safety issues, within 1 km of a burning nacelle so where does that leave the neighbours living in close proximity??

    This is literally the stuff of nightmares.

  12. Additives to the lubricates used at IWEF’s concerns me. Oils may be ‘safe’ and ‘water soluble’ according to pacific hydro spiel, but chemical/s known to be harmful to human health are added to the oil.

    Pacific hydro wrote saying the oils they use are water soluble … this does not make it safer, it just means the product is held in suspension in water … how long does it take to break down the oils and chemical additives that spewed out from a turbine which spattered onto the roof and west wall of our house? To likely end up in our tank drinking water and bore water through seepage.

    To also deny the oil originated from their machinery … to not be concerned for our water supplies and the mess on our house … for years there was no contact number for emergencies, no listing of chemicals stored or used on site and no equipment to manage emergencies at turbines … no training, no safety …. how many other industries would be allowed to place their workers or nearby surrounds in such hazard.

    The paint used on the turbines alone casts such a toxic fume it is smelt at a kilometre distance, enters our home, with no prior warning, with fumes bad enough to cause light-headedness and nausea.

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