Happenstance or Enemy Action? Giant Wind Turbines Collapsing with Alarming Regularity

turbine fintona 4jpg

Gravity or some other force at work?


The number of cases involving collapsing turbines and flying blades (aka “component liberation”) has become so common that, if we were a tad cynical, we would go so far to suggest the possibility of some kind of pattern, along the lines proffered by Mr Bond’s nemesis, Goldfinger: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times it’s enemy action”.

Turbines have been crashing back to earth in frightening numbers – from Brazilto KansasPennsylvaniaGermany and ScotlandDevon and everywhere in between: Ireland has been ‘luckier’ than most (see our posts here and here).

Then there’s the wild habit of these little ‘eco-friendlies’ unshackling their 10 tonne blades, and chucking them for miles in all directions – as seen in the video below – and see our posts here and here and here and here.



In one serious scientific study into the distances blades are likely to travel during “component liberation” – covering over 37 “component liberation” events – blade throw distances of up to 1,600 m were recorded: that study was completed in 2007 – there have been many more bids for blade “freedom” since then (up to 2014 there have been 309 ‘incidents’, as detailed here).

In Australia, for “planning” purposes, the various states have a variety of “set-back” distances between wind turbines and residential homes – said (laughably) to avoid noise impacts: in South Australia it’s 1km.

For a few years the Victorians set it at 2km – but, before 2007 there was no set-back required and plenty of homes ended up with turbines within 600m. However, there is no such limit placed on the distance between roads and turbines.


I want this thing charged with acts endangering human life.


The eco-fascist nutjobs – that took charge in Victoria – slashed set-back distances to 1km – further demonstrating their naked stupidity and rancid hatred of country people. Under Victoria’s ‘rules’, residential homes are now well within the throw zone; with no set-back from roads at all, road-users are sitting ducks.

With whole (50m) blades travelling up to 200m, bigger heavier chunks likely to travel well over 300m and the smaller pieces (referred to in the study linked above as “10% blade fragments”) flying out to distances of up to 1,600m (for a 10% blade fragment – think 5m long blade chunks weighing a tonne or so) – the current setback rule in South Australia – and what the eco-fascists just gave Victoria – places wind farm neighbours well and truly within the “throw zone”.

And with those numbers in mind, think about whole blades – or substantial chunks of them – being flung around with gay abandon the next time you drive past the turbines at Cullerin and Macarthur, some of which are less than 300m from the road you’re on. For stats on blade throws, turbine collapses and fatalities, see: Wind Turbine Blade Throw: Senate Inquiry Gives Chance to Hammer Insanely Dangerous Setback Rules

It’s not just component liberation events that trouble these things (and the lives and limbs of those forced to live within the throw zone), gravity (or some other force?) seems to be giving them no end of vexation.

Here’s three tales from the wind industry’s bible, Windpower Monthly about 100 tonne tumbles, proving that what goes up, must come down – and not without fatal results.

Cracked shaft possible cause of Repower turbine collapse
Windpower Monthly
Jan Dodd
14 December 2015

Turbine Collapse Repower2

FRANCE: Preliminary results of an investigation into a turbine collapse in France indicate a fault in the machine’s shaft caused the rotor to fall to the ground.

On 10 November, the rotor sheared off a Repower MD77-1500kW turbine at Menil-la-Horgne, in the Meuse department of north-east France.

According to investigations so far, the cause of the accident is presumed to be “a slag inclusion in the shaft”, explained a spokesperson at Wpd Windmanager, which took over operational management of the plant from French project operator Theolia in early November.

In other words, it appears a fault in the main shaft connecting the rotor with the gearbox cracked open as the shaft became fatigued.

Senvion, which was known as Repower when the turbines were installed, said that it could not comment until the full investigation to identify the exact cause was completed.

The project, comprising seven Repower MD77 turbines, was commissioned in 2007. It was developed by Wpd and built by ABOWind, and is now owned by Eoliennes Suroit SNC, based in Colmar, north-east France.

The remaining six turbines are still out of service, waiting for permission from the French authorities to restart them, Wpd Windmanager said.
Windpower Monthly

Once is happenstance ….

Siemens investigates turbine collapse
Windpower Monthly
Shaun Campbell
2 December 2015

DENMARK: The nacelle and rotor blades of a 13-year-old 2.3MW Bonus turbine at the Samso offshore project in Denmark broke from the tower and fell into the sea on 28 November.

Siemens, which took over Bonus in 2004 and is responsible for the maintenance of the turbines at the 23MW project, commissioned in 2002-03, is investigating the cause of the unit’s sudden collapse.

“As a precautionary measure, the customer initially decided to take the remaining nine turbines out of operation until physical inspections could be conducted,” said a Siemens spokesperson.

“These units have now been inspected and found to be acceptable for normal operations,” he added.

Soren Hermansen, a shareholder in the project, which is partly owned by private investors, told the Copenhagen Post there had been no warning signs of the machine’s failure.

“Just ten minutes before the turbine snapped, it was operating normally,” he said.
Windpower Monthly

“Operating normally”, hey? Then, that event surely must be coincidence … but …

Ming Yang turbine collapse kills one, injures three
Windpower Monthly
Jianxiang Yang
13 September 2012

turbine collapse min yang

CHINA: A Ming Yang 1.5MW wind turbine collapsed in the course of commissioning, killing one and injuring three, on September 5 in north-west China’s Xinjiang province.

The 66/1500 turbine toppled down in a Huaneng wind farm in Tuokexun county, eastern Xinjiang.

Ming Yang said that according to preliminary analysis, the tower fell because the foundation bolts were not properly fastened in the course of turbine installation. This was exacerbated by the Class I winds at the location.

The company said management staff and technicians are studying anti-accident measures to avoid similar accidents in the future.

The Huaneng Tuokexun wind farm completed turbine installation in April this year. In addition, Ming Yang signed an agreement with a Xinjiang local wind power developer in 2010, to construct a 50MW wind farm in Dabancheng, using 3MW super-compact drive (SCD) turbines.

So far, all the 3MW turbines have been installed and expected to be connected to the grid at the end of the year.
Windpower Monthly


That’s gone way beyond ‘coincidence’, Mr Bond!

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. fb. lycett says:

    The green lot and wind farm fanatics, might get a considerable number of extra supporters if they also advocated the continued use of coal, a proven and practical source of energy, perhaps they might also consider putting their hands into their pockets in direct support of the workers, families and business’s they are helping to ruin

  2. In Huron County in Ontario, we have one of the most picturesque gravel roads, which runs from a longstanding tourist attraction through a maple syrup bush. This well known road is a favourite for people who like to hike or idle their way down this gorgeously canopied road. To my horror, I discovered last fall, that the wind company has been allowed to site a turbine that clearly is too close to the road. If it fell, it would fall right across the road.
    The neighbours to this turbine run a zoo/sanctuary and the noise from this turbine and others that are in a cluster surrounding their beautiful place are plagued with the noise and infrasound radiation from these turbines. Our government agents approve of all of this.

  3. But…wind power is FREE…FREE I tell you!


  4. grumpyoldman22 says:

    The phenomena that add up to component failure in rotating vibrating, machines are well known to metallurgists in the Western world. The old F-111 fighter bombers had wings fall off from identical causes. The improvements in design and materials that resulted over years have been overlooked in the rush to get these infernal machines installed before governments and politicians realise wind turbines are not the answer to green demands. It will be highlighted in the case of China where steelmaking technology and understanding of metal fatigue science never reached that of the West.

  5. Lal Lal smells says:

    The devastating fires in Scotsburn and surrounds burned through host land in the Elaine stage of the soon to be built Lal Lal Wind farm. Lucky for Elaine residents, turbines have not yet been installed so urgently required firefighting aircraft used the (currently) available airspace to waterbomb the blaze and save the Elaine township.
    But if the Lal Lal wind farm had been up and running, (without aerial firefighting protection), imagine the exploding, twisted turbine wrecks that would be littering those paddocks today? Some clean up bill! Who pays?
    Fire or not, if the would-be 161m wind turbine that Westwind wants to put up less than 200m from the Midland Highway suffered spontaneous ‘component liberation’ who is responsible for any resulting loss of life or damage to passing vehicles the ‘component liberation’ could cause? The $2 company that owns the wind turbine or the moron who allowed it to be put there?
    The same moron who would have otherwise been counting his 30 pieces of silver whilst watching Elaine burn.

    • The moron will pay, read any wind farm contract and the landholder is responsible, not the wind company. I’ve seen a few from Waubra and it’s all put back on the landholder for fire, noise or any other nuisance if legal action is taken.

    • Jackie Rovenksy says:

      I was watching the progress of the fire on the internet and wondered exactly which places could be impacted, I thought it seemed to be heading toward Mt Mercer and of course the Mt Mercer installation. I am glad Elaine was saved, but as you say the giant ‘off-shore’ turbines destined for Lal Lal will ensure devastation will arrive at some stage. When towns are surrounded by these massive structures then everyone and thing in their locality will be in danger as well as those districts further afield who will be impacted because a fire will gain strength as it runs uncontrolled through large areas with no assistance available from the air.

  6. Reblogged this on Patti Kellar and commented:

  7. Reblogged this on citizenpoweralliance.

  8. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    Back in 2012 when the less than illustrious SA Government brought in its changes to the Planning Regulations I sent an email with a couple of queries to the Department of Planning in relation to setbacks – the Government had declared 1km from dwellings in rural areas and 2km from the edge of towns. There was a clause which made reference to Public viewing areas and the need to ensure they would be far enough away that viewing public at platforms would not be in danger.
    The following is the reply I received, as you will see there is a way for Planning Panels to ensure the safety of those living and working near turbines, but we have yet to see any Panel use this ability – they seem to consider the safety of visitors at a viewing platform is more important than someone living and working close to these things.
    Why the Government did not take these people into consideration but settled on misinformed people from STATE Agencies, and why these same Agencies appear to have either not considered or ignored there is danger not only to visitors at viewing platforms but also to those living and working within close proximity to these things and these are people who spend more time doing so than visitors spend viewing what they can see clearly from roadsides is a mystery considering those living and working close to them spend many hours a day going about their everyday business, so on percentage would be more likely to be sliced, diced and cooked by ‘liberating’ blades and towers.

    “Sent: Monday, 10 December 2012 9:32 AM
    Subject: RE: Recent Amendments to Amendments of DPA’s
    Hi Jackie
    Firstly, the Minister for Planning (and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure) has been advised that the risk of turbines failing and releasing components, igniting etc is low. This advice was provided by other State agencies including SafeWork SA, the CFS and the Department of Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy.

    The policy that was implemented by the approved DPA did not include specified separation distances for the purposes of avoiding unacceptable risk associated with turbine failure because there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ distance for this purpose (considering relevant variables such as turbine height and others including, but not limited to, intervening features of the landscape such as hills). By not specifying a distance this policy allows an authority to exercise discretion in this context. In other words, it allows an authority to consider relevant information and representations and form a view regarding the separation that ought to be provided to ensure unacceptable risk is avoided.

    Should an authority form the view that part of a private property is used often enough to warrant its own separation, it is open for that authority to seek such separation from the proponent of a wind turbine. It is my view that the policy quoted in your email could be used to support this approach notwithstanding that it cites dwellings, tourist accommodation and public places. Other generic policy could, in my view, be used in further support of this approach. This is because Development Plans are not statutes and must not be interpreted like statutes. Rather, regard must be had to the overall intent of all the policies in a Development Plan.

    My response to the issue you raise with the term ‘frequently visited’ echoes the above; in other words, there is no ‘one size fits all’ order of frequency, the policy consequently doesn’t specify an order of frequency and the absence of specificity empowers an authority to exercise discretion in this context.

    Your question regarding whether the policy should be revisited is for the Minister for Planning or a Council. The policy is always ‘live’ because the Development Act 1993 enables the Minister or a Council to propose amendments to it at any time.

    I hope this does clarify. Feel free to call / email again if you would like to discuss.
    Thank you”
    Its time the Panels and authorising agencies started doing their job instead of kowtowing to Government whims – these peoples lives are JUST AS IMPORTANT as everybody else’s, and their safety should not be restricted to injury from flying debris but also from noise frequencies which damage them emotionally, mentally and physically.

  9. Neil van Dokkum says:

    Reblogged this on The Law is my Oyster and commented:
    With the severe winds being experienced at the moment, how soon before this is an Irish headline?

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