Wind Turbine Terror: Collapses & Spontaneous Combustion

turbine fintona 4jpg

Gravity at work, Fintona County Tyrone, Ireland.


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 Brazilto KansasPennsylvaniaGermany and ScotlandDevon 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:

vestas v112

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
Belfast Newsletter
28 April 2016

turbine fire Ireland

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.
Belfast newsletter

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
Belfast Newsletter
5 January 2015

turbine collapse ireland

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.
Belfast Newsletter

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:

turbine collapse fenner NY

Fenner, New York 2009.


Kansas, 2014.


Germany, 2014.


Starfish Hill, South Australia, 2013.

turbine collapse devon

Devon, 2014.

TurbineCollapse mill run 2014

Mill Run, Pennsylvania 2014.

turbine impsaCollapse

Brazil, 2014.


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.


About stopthesethings

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


  1. Reblogged this on citizenpoweralliance.

  2. What goes up, ultimately comes down – nature has it’s own way at telling people who insist on putting turbines up they’re not wanted. At £2 Million a turbine couldn’t something else be developed instead more ecological for the area. Nature is getting shafted by a load of greedy chancers who don’t care what happens to the planet so long as they make a quick buck. They should be ashamed.

  3. Reblogged this on Patti Kellar.

  4. 4TimesAYear says:

    I wonder what the collapse of one of those things registers on a seismograph…

  5. Patrick Laurence O'Brien says:

    Its only a matter of time before there are fatalaties as regards collapsing and igniting wind turbines Rarely if at all you will hear of a conventional fossil fuel power plant catching fire apart from controlled fuel burning.

    • Patrick, so far there have been 162 killed by these things.

      The following comes from the Caithness Wind Information Group’s Summary of Wind Turbine Accident data to 30 September 2015:

      “Our data clearly shows that blade failure is the most common accident with wind turbines, closely followed by fire. This is in agreement with GCube, the largest provider of insurance to renewable energy schemes.

      In June 2015, the wind industry’s own publication “WindPower Monthly” published an article confirming that “Annual blade failures estimated at around 3,800”, based on GCube information. A GCube survey in 2013 reported that the most common type of accident is indeed blade failure, and that the two most common causes of accidents are fire and poor maintenance.

      Number of accidents
      Total number of accidents: 1781
      By year:


      Fatal accidents
      Number of fatal accidents: 116
      By year:

      fatal accidents

      Please note: There are more fatalities than accidents as some accidents have caused multiple fatalities.

      Of the 162 fatalities:

      95 were wind industry and direct support workers (divers, construction, maintenance, engineers, etc), or small turbine owner/operators.

      67 were public fatalities, including workers not directly dependent on the wind industry (e.g. transport workers). 17 bus passengers were killed in one single incident in Brazil in March 2012; 4 members of the public were killed in an aircraft crash in May 2014 and a further three members of the public killed in a transport accident in September 2014.”

      The numbers include 2 Vestas maintenance workers who were incinerated in a turbine fire:

  6. They also burnup. Here a case last autumn.

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