Scottish Wind Power Company Attempts to Cover Up Turbine Collapse

For their eyes only: another ‘rare’ turbine collapse.


What’s notable about this story is not that a 160 tonne turbine collapsed without warning, nor is it the effort by the wind power outfit’s spin doctor to pretend that this is the first time a 90m tower has taken a tumble to terra firma (a line we demolish, so to speak, below).

No, what is remarkable is their effort to keep a lid on the collapse, only acknowledging it 7 days after the event, and then only because neighbours kicked up a stink.

Safety probe launched after collapse of 480-foot wind turbine in Ayrshire
Daily Record
Stephen Housten
29 January 2017

ENERGY chiefs have launched an urgent probe following the collapse of the 160-ton turbine.

The catastrophic collapse of a giant wind turbine is being investigated.

A 480-foot high turbine came down in a storm – only the second windmill in Scotland to crash to the ground.

The astonishing structural failure of the £2 million machine has prompted demands for information by the community in Barrhill.

The Kilgallioch wind farm is operated by Scottish Power Renewables which had failed to alert the public to the incident for SEVEN DAYS.

Luckily nobody was near the 160-ton turbine at the time it fell.

The Ayrshire Post’s source says the 328-foot tower “creased” at the access door at ground level.

The three blades and switchgear were all smashed on impact.

And he added: “Debris was spread over half a kilometre and a crane was been brought in to try and clear the damage.

“The company was trying to keep things hush-hush and were not keen to say anything.

“The site is so large and unseen from public roads that the only way to see the collapse is from the air.

“Local people want the alarm raised as they feel things are going on unreported.”

It happened during the early hours of Friday, January 13 as the area was hit by high winds and snow squalls.

At the time 55mph gusts were blowing in from the north west.

The following Friday the company released a basic statement admitting it had happened.

The tower which fell was still to generate any electricity for the grid.

The £300million Kilgallioch development has 96 mills and will generate 239 mega watts to power up to 130,000 homes when fully onstream later this year.

It will be one of the largest onshore farms in the UK.

Spanish firm Gamesa and Scottish Power are carrying out a joint investigation.

The site is peaty moorland spread over 12 square miles.

One Glasgow-based national energy expert said: “A collapse like this is extremely rare.

“The whole industry will be keen to know where this steel came from and who fabricated the tower.

“It is a very worrying development indeed and will have major repercussions at this site and possibly others.”

The only other reported collapse in Scotland was ten years ago at another Scottish Power farm.

A 206-foot tower collapsed at Beinn an Tuirc in Kintyre and the company said then: “This has never happened before in the UK.”

Other collapses have been revealed in Northern Ireland, California and Denmark.

The Ayrshire Post was alerted to the Barrhill collapse on Friday by an anonymous caller.

But there was no visible damage either from the main Newton Stewart Road or the B7027 Drumlamford Estate back route.

Scottish Power refused to answer specific questions on the incident or provide a photograph of the debris.

The company claimed “all proper reporting procedures have been followed.”

A spokeswoman said: “We are currently investigating an incident relating to an installed turbine at Kilgallioch Windfarm during the early hours of Friday, January 13. The turbine was not yet operational and no one was in the vicinity at the time.”

Scottish Renewables, the sector’s promoter, said wind has a good safety record.

Senior Policy Manager Lindsay Roberts, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Onshore wind turbines are well-proven and reliable, and incidents are extremely rare.

“It is important to note that in this case the turbine involved was not yet generating electricity for the grid and is part of a wind farm which is under construction.

“The incident has been reported to all statutory authorities and a full investigation is underway. All involved will look to learn any relevant lessons to ensure our industry continues its exceptional safety record.”
Daily Record

Since this post first went to air, our Scottish operatives at Wind Energy’s Absurd slipped us this pic of what Gamesa and Scottish Power Renewables were so very keen on preventing the world from seeing. Thanks WEA!

Kilgallioch cover up: the ‘rarity’ they didn’t want the world to see.


Well, let’s take a look the wind industry’s “exceptional safety record”…. with this lengthy pictorial – starting with a few tower collapses:

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.
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):

Sigel Township, Michigan, February 2016.
turbine blade germany
Ostsee, Germany, December 2015.
Pontecesco, Spain, January 2016.
blade fail
Fenner, New York, February 2016.
Leystad, A6 Highway, Netherlands, May 2009.
turbine blade donegal
Donegal, Ireland, December 2013.
turbine001 kerry
Kerry, Ireland, January 2015.
Ocotillo, California, May 2013.
Whitelee (near Glasgow), Scotland, March 2010.
Turbine Collapse Repower2
Menil-la-Horgne, France, December 2015.
turbine rotor germany
Hamburg, Germany, March 2016.


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

22 thoughts on “Scottish Wind Power Company Attempts to Cover Up Turbine Collapse

  1. Gee, Kinder Morgan pipeline to BC hasn’t had a spill in 53 years. But we think it could,so it is to dangerous to twin.

  2. A family member in the UK has forwarded the article below from Scotland Against Spin.

    23 February 2017
    Subject: SAS Plea for the Scottish Wildcat

    Dear Supporters,

    Some of you may remember the story late last year about Helen Douglas, the Perthshire hill shepherdess who took up the cudgels for the Scottish wildcat against a wind farm developer at Tullymurdoch. The windfarm site is about 6 miles north west of Alyth in Perth and Kinross and is one of the last remaining territories for a species which is on the brink of extinction. It also hosts an osprey nest.

    Both osprey and wildcat enjoy the highest level of European wildlife protection. Yet the planning application and resulting consent overlooked the impact of the development on a local Scottish wild cat queen as well as ospreys who live on the site.

    Some of Scotland’s leading environmental lawyers thought Helen had a good case, and they sought a judicial review of the planning consent at the Court of Session, but in December Lord Kinclaven upheld the original decision.

    Opinions from two senior counsels in Scotland are that Lord Kinclaven’s reasoning was flawed and that Helen has strong grounds for a further appeal. This is now underway.

    While Helen is applying for legal aid and a protective expenses order, and she has enjoyed considerable good will from her lawyers, the cost of the process remains dauntingly unclear and it cannot be borne by Helen alone, however successful her applications and however generous her lawyers.

    When news of Lord Kinclaven’s judgement broke last year, numerous individuals approached both SAS and Helen wanting to help financially, but at that point she didn’t know if her case was strong enough to merit pursuing.

    Now that she is appealing, we are organising a crowdfunding appeal on Helen’s behalf. You can access it here (, and whatever you pledge will only be collected if it is needed. As Helen says, “there are many others who are passionate about wildlife and environmental justice – and if each one could pledge a little, even if it’s £5 or £10, we don’t have to let them get away with it!”

    Many thanks and kind regards,

    Graham Lang

    PS Helen has written her own plea for support which you can read on our website:

  3. Useless and HORRIFIC. There is no guarantee wind turbine blades, towers or nacelle won’t catch alight nor fall apart. Our absentee neighbour whom does not live near the turbines he hosts in our ‘backyard’ should experience; a gearbox exploding in the dead of night; oil, exhaust or paint fumes spewing out the back and broken, yet still operating blades, spewing fiberglass onto us for months. Hot ash from a bush fire falling on the ground around me while the turbines still turn regardless of a total fire ban day. Pacific Hydro this host/s and certain authorities whom have shown no empathy towards us should have to take responsibility for allowing the close proximity these machines are built and with NO protective safety measures. How do you stop a falling or burning or busted up blade and the detritus outside the radius of the wind farm? How do you guarantee my families and friends safety? The financial cost will be enormous if a blade spears our house, or hurts nearby motorists, pedestrians or tourists beneath them. The social cost is already in the red and nothing will restore ‘social licence’ to operate, no matter how much the truth that wind turbines are expensive, ineffectual and harming is denied by authorities.

  4. Looks like glass fibre strands with no resin, poorly built blades, out off balance and high wind = catastrophe.

      1. The turbine installers and maintainers also ruin the narrow country roads and the moor getting their huge, heavy machinery in there.
        Then they go away and leave it for the locals to fix, or live with.
        They get away with so much that even local farmers would not be allowed to do a fraction of.

  5. These things stand out like a sore thumb, we are told they are majestic and everyone wants to visit them – so much huff and puff about their wonders – so why are they so scared to let us know when something goes wrong?
    Surely if they are so wonderful there is no shame in letting us know of the ‘occasional’ problem.
    Or is it that problems are not occasional, that they are something to worry about because one could come down over the top of a bus full of passengers, or drop onto a farmer as they go about their daily business, that they could kill a child playing the their garden or school yard, that walkers could be crushed as they wander through a site along a public pathway.
    Or is it that they are inherently dangerous to have so close to human activities, that failure is an admission that they are not safe or a suitable factory to have planted anywhere the industry wants them to go, without safeguards to prevent maiming or killing someone if failure should happen – with or without warning.
    That they cannot guarantee these things will operate safely without structural failure during a storm or any weather conditions, good and bad. That they cannot guarantee they have been constructed from the safest materials and erected to a standard far beyond that of a domestic TV aerial.
    Mandatory reporting to authorities is not sufficient, if these things are to operate where ever they want them to go then failures structural and mechanical should be notified to the public immediately, without any ‘cover up’ or limiting the information put out to the public.
    They are far more difficult to reach in case of catastrophic failure, unlike if they were in designation industrial estates where safety equipment and people have easy access and warnings.
    These things are installed and left to the occasional safety monitoring unlike factories in estates where people are on site every day and can observe when something may be going wrong.
    Yes they are monitored 1,000kms away and at times in other countries via internet connection – but this is not monitoring for structure changes like hairline cracks, squeaks and creaks, but for the monitoring of performance/production.
    It’s possible planting a tree and maintaining it on a street has more conditions re public safety than these things do. In fact there are times when trees have been removed from public areas because of their possible danger to public safety, and some are not permitted to be planted in public parks and streets because they are deemed unsafe due to the possibility of falling limbs.
    Here in Australia we are warned about camping or taking shelter under large Eucalypt trees because of the danger of falling branches especially when the weather changes suddenly or there are strong winds forecast.
    These are warnings we should take seriously, but where are the warnings about the possibility of a massive turbine coming down on top of you as you wander through a site on a tour, or work in a field where they are installed, or stand and take a photograph near them or wander or drive down a road where they are installed close by?
    No to do that the industry would have to accept these things are unsound and a danger to public safety – and of course as we know they are also a danger to public health and environmental security – let alone they are completely useless and incapable of providing reliable supplies of energy.
    Being secretive has not proven to be a useful tool for the industry or any governing authority, all it has done is get our hackles up and get our investigative temperaments set at alert mode ready to pounce whenever we get an inkling of secrecy and deceit ready to expose such things to the wider community so they have the whole truth and nothing but the truth, with nowhere to hide for this rotten to the core industry.

  6. The simple fact well illustrates by the many photos here: This is an industry in its infancy and until the designers recognize the torsional effects on the towers, ahs devise a system for its conversion to electricity as well, this kind o problem will continue.

    1. The even simpler fact is that these things are meaningless as a power source. The industry is no infant, but the people who support it are intellectual infants and those who profit from it treat the public as gullible children get treated by malicious parents.

  7. From this photo, it appears as though the materials used are inadequate to withstand any destabilizing effect. Could they be that flimsy?

  8. Obviously a worldwide failure for harnessing nature – the only person benefitting from wind farms are the people who build the turbines. Traditional wind mills never collapse so violently are a better, safer environmentally friendly machine. Isn’t there better things to spend money on than turbines ?

    1. You say build them better. Will you pay the massive subsidies on your own, let them put them in your backyard, and happily survive on power delivered 30% of the time at crazy random intervals? Because that is what wind power is all about.

  9. Until governments force the industry to make their records of these incidents public and the Health & Safety people do the same with their reports, nothing will change. I have been waiting two years for the Scottish HSE to release their report on a collapsed turbine near me. Despite endless emails, still waiting. All I get are excuses because ‘they’ don’t want ‘us’ to know. Almost anything else mechanical that develops faults gets withdrawn and results in investigation so why not wind turbines?

  10. This is part of what we said in January when we put up the Scottish turbine suicide statistics which Caithness Wind Information Forum pulled out from their statistics.

    ‘Information is being given to the public and should be 100% accurate. It’s not, and that misinformation is compounded by the likes of the unnamed Glasgow expert and the Scottish Renewables mouthpiece – Senior Policy Manager Lindsay Roberts – who said: “Onshore wind turbines are well-proven and reliable, and incidents are extremely rare.
    Onshore in Scotland? Onshore in the UK? Onshore in the world, presumably as it’s an unqualified statement. So, more lies. Incidents are becoming commonplace, either whole liberation, component liberation or self-immolation.’

    We have your post up today on our facebook page, STT, and have reprised the statistics referred to above – just suicides in Scotland, not the rest of the UK even; not the stats on component liberation, which are legion. And we’ve also put in comments one of the pictures of the Kilgallioch turbine mess which an intrepid camera person took!

    Click to access fullaccidents.pdf

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