Monumental Design Fail: Industrial Wind Turbines Simply Can’t Handle High Winds

When the weather turns nasty, giant industrial wind turbines simply turn off. When there’s no wind, they produce nothing; when winds hit gale force, they produce nothing. It’s as if their designers included Goldilocks, the porridge thief who wanted things “just right” and snubbed her nose at all that wasn’t.

Modern industrial wind turbines do not operate when wind speeds hit around 25 m/s (90kph or 55mph) – when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas back in August 2017, he dished up a gale double that speed, and more.

In order to prevent their catastrophic disintegration (as seen in the video below) Texas’s wind turbines deliberately downed tools, en masse, (as they are deliberately designed to do) leaving the critical work of providing power to storm-battered Texans to its fleet of nuclear power plants.

America’s Great Plains are touted by wind power rent-seekers as prime territory for subsidy gouging; they claim the wide-open, windswept prairies are a ‘great wind resource’. Except, apparently, when the wind rises above a bracing bluster.

High winds shut down some wind turbines across North Dakota
Sara Berlinger
18 November 2021

If you stepped outside the last few days, you know it is windy in North Dakota. Some areas have seen wind gusts as high as 70 miles per hour.

But do high winds help wind turbines produce more energy? While you may think high winds mean more wind energy, it’s actually the opposite.

“A lot of people in the general public think that the higher the wind, the better for the wind turbine industry. That’s not the case,” said Bruce Emmil, National Energy Center of Excellence.

The Dean of the National Energy Center of Excellence at Bismarck State College says winds in the teens are ideal. When wind gusts climb into the high 40s and 50s, wind turbines are at risk of damage.

“The blades are always turning at the same speed, but just that force and that pressure on the blades can damage the blades, put more stress on the gear box,” said Emmil.

It’s why turbines are designed to monitor the wind and automatically shut down during an extreme weather event.

“They feather the blades so they stop spinning, and if there is any sort of emergency situation, they have essentially like a disc-brake system like a car has, and they can put the brakes on to essentially shut the entire system down,” said Peder Mewis, Clean Grid Alliance.

The Regional Policy Manager at Clean Grid Alliance says today’s turbines are equipped with very sophisticated technology to generate power safely. Only Mother Nature knows when all the state’s turbines will be up and running again.

Xcel Energy says some of their wind farms have been shut down for a time due to recent high winds. They say blade length and tower height also play a role in whether they can operate during high winds or not.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Peter Pronczak says:

    What about a plus or minus of when politicians and scientists actually factually work other than in their own interests.

    Toward the end of WWI wind generators were used in the wings of Auster aircraft to charge a communication battery for forward artillery observation posts. Like Dutch windmills they went the way of the Dodo in preference for reliability; that thing that RE and its proponents ignore.
    Why is that?

  2. Bit like Albanese’s thousands of jobs. Unions worked out nine jobs for one renewable worker on labor’s modelling. Might be double that with all the Chinese components. Too much wind, not enough wind, too cold too hot, power price hasn’t spiked enough, Zali’s mob are the only ones that can afford them. Just go nuclear and be done with it.

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