Saturday, 10 November 2007
Above image courtesy Minnesota's Energy Future.
Read in the regional press today (Saturday) that a number of windfarms were taken off-line for the generation of electricity on Thursday. Reason being that a turbine tower had actually collapsed during 50 mph winds on the Mull of Kintyre. Similar incidents were quoted from elsewhere in the UK and the world at large in recent years. An investigation into the Kintyre collapse is in progress; nobody was hurt.
Such a catastrophic structural failure can have various causes, varying from design flaws to faults due to a manufacturing defect. If this is a recurring phenomenon, then wind turbines appear not to be the tried and tested technology that they are made out to be.
Winds of 50 mph, equating to force 10 on the Beaufort scale, are unusual but certainly not unheard of in the Western Isles. Gusts of that magnitude and greater occurred at regular intervals during last Thursday's gales.