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 keep crashing back to earth in frightening numbers – from Brazil – to Kansas – Pennsylvania – Germany and Scotland – Devon and everywhere in between: Ireland has been ‘luckier’ than most (see our posts here and here) and their luck is being enjoyed in Sweden too (see our post here).
A couple of months back, Swedes had the pleasure of waking up to the sound of a vertically-challenged 290 tonne, whirling Danish Dervish splattering itself across a country road, fortunately free of Volvos at the time:
Then there’s their habit of bursting into flames – as a kind of giant pyrotechnic display. This time the kids from County Antrim were treated to a demonstration of ‘clean, green’ family friendly fireworks.
Co Antrim wind turbine catches fire
28 April 2016
This striking image was captured by an engineer from Northern Ireland Electricity, after he attended the scene of a burning wind turbine in Co Antrim.
The blaze took place around the Castlecat Road in a part of rural north Antrim called Derrykeighan, a few miles east of Coleraine.
Two fire engines from Coleraine were dispatched to the scene at around 8.30am, but the fire brigade said that they did not need to take any action when they arrived.
Northern Ireland Electricity staff attended to make sure the electricity supply was isolated.
They said they could not reveal the operator of the turbine, which is believed to be a single unit, not part of a wider wind farm.
In January 2015, a wind turbine collapsed following a malfunction in Screggagh, Co Tyrone.
Seems the Irish have more than their fair share of ‘luck’.
While sparks were flying in County Antrim, County Tyrone has had its share of excitement too. Last year a nodding Nordex came off second-best in gravity’s constant vertical challenge.
Tyrone wind turbine collapse first we have seen, says firm
5 January 2015
The company behind a turbine which collapsed in spectacular fashion in Co Tyrone has said it has never seen such an event before.
Nordex said it had installed around 340 of the same model of turbine in Europe and Asia since 2001.
It described them as “proven” on strong wind sites, adding: “We have not seen a comparable incident in the past.”
This specific model of turbine is called an N80/2500, but there are others from the same general class.
A spokesman for the German-based firm added: “From the 2500-MW-Class family around 3,000 turbines are turning (they are all equipped with the similar drive train concept). The family is popular and well tested.”
When it comes to the investigation into the collapse, he said the firm will not speculate on a reason and it is not possible to say how long the probe will take.
The £2m wind turbine toppled over on Friday evening at Screggagh wind farm, off the B122 between Fintona and Fivemiletown.
The Department of the Environment, which has responsibility for planning, said it does not hold records on how many turbines are operating in Northern Ireland.
So, we’re meant to be assured by the wind power outfit’s spin-master’s line that “We have not seen a comparable incident in the past.”
These boys should get out more, to be sure!
By January 2015 there had been more than just a troubling few turbine collapses all over the world, as the following photo montage attests:
With gravity one of nature’s constants, wind farm neighbours can hardly rest assured. Expect more of the same. Welcome to your wind powered future.