Saturday, 10 November 2007

Turbine woes

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.

1 comment:

  1. "It looks fatigued."

    Flying Cat from tired&emotional

    "Arnish, thanks for this info IT"

    island threads from lewis

    "So a turbine tower has collapsed in high winds. Not of itself of huge significance. We will not know exactly what happened until there has been an engineering investigation and report. There could, as you point out, be any one, or any combination, of a number of reasons for the failure. I am concerned, however, that the anti brigade will sieze upon this one, as yet statistically insignificant, incident as evidence that the whole principle of wind energy is unsound. I can almost hear the chorous of,"We told you so." This standpoint is illogical. We did not cease building jet airliners in the wake of the fatigue failures in the comets. Nor, indeed, did we stop building suspension bridges in the wake of the spectacular failure of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge."

    Hyper-Borean from Another windy place

    "What a waste of public money with so little return."

    Ian maclennan from Isle of lewis

    "As well as improper installation and maintenance. I would suspect that as the earth warms, the winds will increase in speed, since it is the warmth of the sun that powers our weather. Designs should be for greater than historical force, as we will see new records set."

    CVBruce from CA,USA

    "I pity those on Lewis when these monstrous wind turbines are erected. The noise and their blot on the landscape will be both detrimental to local inhabitants and visitor alike. Will islanders benefit over the forthcoming years.. I hardly think so!"

    Stan Matthews from North Carolina