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2 wind turbines spin out of control in one week
by Matt Jansen on November 3, 2009
Wind energy has immense potential to offset carbon emissions by generating electricity from a renewable source. But it also comes with its own set of ecological and safety risks. Case in point? Recently in Sweden two turbines spun out of control in the span of a week, flinging out some of their deadly blades.
Luckily in one instance the blade hit the ground and in the other a nearby power transformer, but the risk is obvious. Without proper installations and maintenance wind turbines can pose a safety threat for nearby residents. Bats also suffer in some instances because of the rapid drop in air pressure wind turbines cause.
One of the faulty turbines was built by Vestas, which has a large footprint of wind turbines across the globe. The company claims “39,000 wind turbines in 63 countries on five continents . . . generating more than 60 million MWh a year”.
With a service area like that Vestas has a lot at stake when it comes to managing perceptions of wind turbine safety, and it also calls attention to the potential need for more stringent quality standards enforced by governments. Then again, IEC standards for wind turbine safety, performance, noise measurement, and blade structure already exist so it could be an isolated case of faulty equipment.
“Since 2000, there have been 27 incidents in Denmark of turbine blades coming loose,” according to The Copenhagen Post. In the span of about a decade that doesn’t sound terrible, and one of the defective turbines near Esbjerg was 11 years old.
Vestas’ staff is looking into what went wrong with the wind turbine but worldwide as we continue to expand the amount of energy we’re pulling from wind it may make sense to build out a maintenance plan at the same pace.