Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fire hazard

Bird mincers (aka wind turbines) are a favourite hobby horse of mine as it's a target rich environment. They're touted by enviroloons and moneygrabbing politicians as the answer to carbon free power generation and will help save the planet from global warming man made climate change. This is despite the fact that they're inneficient, expensive to run and intermittent in their generation as they don't work when there's no wind... or indeed too much.
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.
The renewable energy industry keeps no record of the number of turbine fires, meaning the true extent of the problem is unknown, a study backed by Imperial College London finds on Thursday.
An average of 11.7 such fires are reported globally each year, by media, campaign groups and other publicly-available sources, but this is likely to represent just the “tip of the iceberg”.
There could in fact be 117 turbine fires each year, it argues, based on analysis showing just 10pc of all wind farm accidents are typically reported.
Fires tend to be “catastrophic”, leading to turbines worth more than £2 million each being written off, because the blazes occur so high up that they are almost impossible to put out, it warns.
So not only eyesores and a danger to flying mammals, they're a bit of a liability when it comes to catching fire. That plus the ones at sea are discovering the joys of a salt laden environment and have corrosion/erosion problems. All in all it's pretty much a case of money down the drain along with the fact that it's also taxpayers cash subsidising the damned things.
Any engineer will tell you that objects with moving parts will require maintenance, in a normal power station there are people around to do this, but at least the turbines are at ground level (usually) In the case of a wind turbine, they're unmanned only visited on a regular maintenance schedule and as with regular maintenance, sometimes things go wrong that aren't picked up. Place a unit with plastics, hydraulics and generating heat via its power generation and you have a bit of a fire trap stuck off the ground where the fire brigade can't get at it, nor can be reached to do running repairs.
Still they're going to save the planet, along with the backup diesel generators sneakily brought in to supplement their dormant periods as the government closed down the efficient power stations to build these monstrosities.
If it wasn't so serious, it would be funny.

2 annotations:

microdave said...

There's a good breakdown (pun intended) of accidents, including unfortunate fatalities, at this site:

Kath lissenden said...

Here is a story about bird mincer and half for you to enjoy.....
It's ludicrous.