Mortal Danger: Wind Turbines Throw Blades, Disintegrate & Collapse with Alarming Regularity

auwahi-project-map-01

More turbine mayhem, this time it’s Siemens turbines – less than 4 years old – collapsing on Maui – an island in the Hawaiian archipelago.

Parts fall off wind turbine
The Maui News
Lee Imada
4 October 2016

broken-blades

The blades, hub and nacelle of one of eight Auwahi Wind turbines in the Kanaio area separated from the tower and fell to the ground Sunday, an official with the wind-power generation company said Monday.

There were no injuries, and the damage was limited to the one turbine, said Jill Howard, manager of communications and marketing for San Diego-based Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, the owner of the wind farm.

“We are in the very early stages of investigating the situation and gathering facts,” Howard said in an email Monday night. “This includes working closely with Siemens, the turbine manufacturer, to determine the root cause and corrective actions.”

As a precaution, all of the turbines at the 21-megawatt wind farm have been shut down until the investigation is completed, Howard said.

Shayna Decker, spokeswoman for Maui Electric Co., which receives wind power from Auwahi, confirmed Monday afternoon that the utility was not receiving power from the wind farm.

“It is too soon to know how long this comprehensive investigation will take,” said Howard.

According to the final Environmental Impact Statement for the project, filed in August 2011, each tower weighs a total of 283 tons, based on transport weight. The nacelle, which houses all of the generating components of a wind turbine, is 82.5 tons, alone.

Each tower is 262 feet high with blades running 166 feet, according to the EIS.

The report said that each unit is equipped with a controller that allows the wind tower generator to operate when wind speeds are between 8 and 55 mph. High wind speeds can damage the units.

The report said that “it is very rare” for a wind tower generator “to collapse or a rotor blade to be dropped or thrown from the nacelle, but such incidents do occur and are potentially dangerous for site personnel and the general public.”

A tower collapse or blade throw can result from “improper design, manufacturing or installation; wind gusts exceeding the . . . maximum design load; or from lightning strikes,” according to the report.

Compliance with industry design, construction and operational standards “appropriately and effectively reduce the potential for tower collapse and blade throw,” the report said.

The wind farm, with a footprint of about 68 acres on Ulupalakua Ranch land, has an estimated 20-year lifespan. The power purchase agreement with MECO, approved by the Public Utilities Commission in June 2011, was for 20 years.

The 21-MW wind farm went online in December 2012.

dsc_0615-1
The Maui News

The line about wind turbines having “an estimated 20-year lifespan” is utter bunkum: these things have an economic lifespan of around 11 years (see our post here); and Siemens turbines in the Californian desert, at Ocotillo began falling apart in less than 2 years (see our post here).

The pitch in the report from the operator that “it is very rare” for a wind tower generator “to collapse or a rotor blade to be dropped or thrown from the nacelle” is a delicious gift to STT.

We’ll share our delight at smashing that one for 6 with this lengthy pictorial – starting with a few tower collapses:

turbine collapse fenner NY

Fenner, New York 2009.

wind-turbine-collapse

Kansas, 2014.

turbine-collapse-germany1

Germany, 2014.

IMG_6772

Starfish Hill, South Australia, 2013.

turbine collapse devon

Devon, 2014.

TurbineCollapse mill run 2014

Mill Run, Pennsylvania 2014.

turbine impsaCollapse

Brazil, 2014.

turbine collapse ireland

Tyrone, Ireland January 2015.

vestas v112

Sweden, December 2015.

***

With gravity one of nature’s constants, wind farm neighbours can hardly rest assured. Expect more of the same.

Then there is the ‘minor’ issue of ‘component liberation’.

Turbine blade failures, including events where 10 tonne blades are thrown to the 4 winds are so common that we have considered running a separate site dedicated to their aerial escapades – here’s a few to whet your appetite for destruction (the captions are linked to the stories behind the pictures):

turbine-separation

Sigel Township, Michigan, February 2016.

BladeFailure_Spain

Pontecesco, Spain, January 2016.

turbinedutchbladeaccident

Leystad, A6 Highway, Netherlands, May 2009.

blade-whitelee_accident

Whitelee (near Glasgow), Scotland, March 2010.

Turbine Collapse Repower2

Menil-la-Horgne, France, December 2015.

***

Now that those who are forced to travel past, live with and work near these things know how rare it is for 10 tonne blades to be thrown to the 4 winds; how rare it is for 60 tonne rotors to drop 90m from the heavens; and how rare it is for 160m high, 290 tonne turbines to plummet to Earth, we expect you feel a whole lot safer. No?

Welcome to your wind powered future.

fire 6

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Mafamarcati says:

    Yet another one of these bird munching crucifixes collapsed ‘mysteriously’ in high gales last night. This time in Ballynahinch, County Down in Northern Ireland. Where the march of these ill built, unsustainable murderous conning monsters across the rural landscape has only just begun.

  2. Here we go again, another beautiful fire in Michigan.
    Burn baby burn is all I can muster for a comment.

    https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2016/12/21/fire-takes-down-an-entire-wind-turbine-families-nearby-react/

  3. THE ALIENS HAVE LANDED.

    Imposing in there hundreds,
    Such an army on display,
    Those alien grey metal monsters
    I saw while on my way.
    Aliens on our shores have landed,
    So tall, backs straight and true,
    At night they watch through flashing eyes
    Of red, at me and you.

    Some have scaled the mountains,
    Others near schools and homes,
    Of one thing I am certain,
    Those aliens have no souls.
    No “whispering” from their ranks at all,
    An unearthly sound they make,
    It envelops each and everyone,
    No more can humans take.

    Three giant arms revolving,
    Enveloping all around,
    They’re here to ‘save the planet’,
    The biggest “con” I have found.
    Such hideous tall grey monsters,
    Invade green and pleasant lands,
    To stay for generations,
    Unless the people make a stand.

    These aliens feed on power and wind,
    Without either, they will die,
    They’re NOT environmental friendly,
    They’re for profit, (at a cost), that’s WHY.

  4. catweazle666 says:
  5. Reblogged this on Wolsten.

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