Red Alert: Self-Immolating Wind Turbines Pose Constant Summer Bushfire Threat

Giant industrial wind turbines habitually explode into terrifying fireballs, spewing toxic smoke and raining tonnes of flaming plastics and molten metals earthward.

In winter it probably provides locals with a kind of amusing pyrotechnic distraction. However, in the height of summer, with the country a tinderbox and fuel loads at their peak, not so much.

No, bushfires (as Australians call them) or wildfires (as our North American cousins dub them) are no laughing matter. A single spark can turn the countryside into a raging inferno, destroying homes, sheds, machinery and fences, and killing native animals, livestock, and people, alike.

Australia’s wind industry has managed to kick off 2023 with a run of turbine self-immolations, generating a whole bunch of unnecessary risk.

The first we reported on here: Blaze of Glory: Life-Threatening Wind Turbine Fires Way More Common Than People Think, when a turbine self-ignited, spraying flaming oil and plastics far and wide at Gunning, near Goulburn in New South Wales (see above).

Fortunately for locals, conditions were very cool and wet with light rain, such that the turbine in question did not spark the kind of bushfire that generates well-founded fear among rural communities.

A few weeks later and a 2MW Vestas determined to do much the same on the southern tip of South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, a place called Cathedral Rocks.

It’s not the first time one of Cathedral Rock’s 33 whirling wonders has gone up in flames: back in February 2009, 14 Country Fire Service firefighters were called in to deal with another turbine that went out in a blaze of glory; those firefighters were involved in a frantic bid to put out spot fires that threatened disaster for life and property. Fortunately, no lives were lost.

All that risk for a power generation source that would not exist without subsidies and is simply pointless because it can never deliver power, on demand. Welcome to your wind ‘powered’ future!

Wind turbine catches fire in one of Australia’s oldest wind projects
Renew Economy
Giles Parkinson
26 January 2023

A wind turbine located in one of Australia’s oldest wind projects caught fire this week, engulfing the nacelle (or motor) and two of its blades.

The fire at the 66MW Cathedral Rocks wind farm west of Port Lincoln, at the tip of the Eyre Peninsula, was reported by the South Australia Country Fire Service.

It was called to the facility, near Sleaford, at around 10pm on Tuesday, January 24.

“3 CFS trucks and command crews supported by SAPOL have attended the private property where a wind turbine was already well involved in fire,” the CFS said in a statement.

“The motor of the wind turbine is believed to have been the ignition point of the fire, with two blades also burning. Debris from the turbine has sparked a small grass fire approximately 150 metres in length below.

“Due to the unsafe conditions within close proximity of the turbine, heavy machinery is enroute to the scene to create containment lines around the grass fire in order to prevent spread. Losses are estimated to be contained to the replacement value of the turbine.”

The wind farm, which began operations in May, 2007 after starting construction in 2004, features 33 Vestas 2MW turbines, and is now jointly owned by EnergyAustralia and Acciona Energia. It’s not the first time a turbine has caught fire at Cathedral Rocks. Another fire incident occurred on one of the turbines in 2009.

A spokesperson for Acciona confirmed that a fire had occurred in the nacelle of a wind turbine at the Cathedral Rocks Wind Farm.
Renew Economy

Welcome to your wind ‘powered’ future!


February 9, 2023 at 12:41AM

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