Ouest France 03/01/2018
« C'est la première fois qu'une éolienne est décapitée comme ça. Du jamais vu ! »
"This is the first time a wind turbine has been beheaded like that. Never seen before !"
Wind turbines may catch on fire ten times more often than is publicly reported, putting nearby properties at risk and casting doubt on their green credentials, researchers have warned.
Turbines are prone to catching on fire because their design puts highly flammable materials such as hydraulic oil and plastic in close proximity to machinery and electrical wires, which can ignite a fire if they overheat or are faulty.
Lots of oxygen, in the form of high winds, can quickly fan a fire inside a turbine. Once ignited, the chances of fighting the blaze are slim due to the height of the wind turbine and the remote locations they are often in.
Under high wind conditions, burning debris from the turbine may fall on nearby vegetation and start forest fires or cause serious damage to property.The main causes of fires are lightning strikes, electrical malfunction, mechanical failure, and errors with maintenance.
Imperial College, London
1,500 accidents and incidents on UK wind farms
The wind energy industry has admitted that 1,500 accidents and other incidents have taken place on wind farms over the past five years.
The figures – released by RenewableUK, the industry's trade body – include four deaths and a further 300 injuries to workers.
The scale of incidents – equivalent to almost one a day – emerges following the publication of dramatic photographs showing one turbine which had crashed to the ground in a field near a road and another exploding into flames.
One manufacturer of wind turbines admitted one of its models had a defect – understood to be caused by a faulty braking system that meant the blades could fly off – that led to hundreds of turbines being ordered to be shut down in September by the Health and Safety Executive.
The company, Proven Energy Ltd, based in Scotland, went into receivership shortly after.
Campaigners claim that the incidents show that "some parts of the country are too windy for turbines". Most turbines automatically shut down when the wind speed rises above 56mph because at that speed they can become unsafe. Developers seem to have ignored the fact that some parts of the country are too windy for turbines.