The collapse of a 95 metre high wind turbine in Saxony, eastern Germany, on Thursday is under investigation.
The Saxony online daily Sächsische Zeitung (SZ) here reported the incident at the wind farm near Leisnig. So far the investigation has found that one of three blades failed catastrophically, thus creating a huge imbalance that caused the tower to buckle 15 meters above the ground and led to the structure crashing down.
According to the report, “Through the force of the impact, the gearbox unit was driven almost 2 meters into the earth.”
Wolf Stotzel, technical expert at the German Wind Energy Association told Power Engineering International the turbine involved was a 'Tacke TW 600 Windmill with LM19 –Blades.'
Operating company Eurowind Energy GmbH’s Branch Manager, Benjamin Schmitt said the economic damage arising from the accident comes to over half a million euros.
This sum consists of the possible revenues for the wind energy as well as a recovery price in case the wind turbine had been dismantled regularly for further operation. According to German press agency information, the full feed-in tariff would still have been paid for the damaged wind turbine until 31 December 2019.
Eurowind are considering placing an identical wind turbine for installation at the wind farm.
"This is an option," Schmitt said. "From the point of view of the maintenance company no new authorization is required."
The windmill was produced in 1999, according to Rasmus GmbH, the turbine's maintenace firm, who added that the latest maintenance in June had found no safety deficiencies.
Eurowind Energy, which has been operating three more turbines in the park for around two years, and around 300 nationwide stated the wind turbines are in the so-called repowering phase and are to be replaced by modern systems. According to Schmitt, the building permit has already been applied for, but is not yet available. "This will be a while longer," he told German media.
The incident comes weeks after a similar turbine collapse in the Mecklenburg Pommeria town of Süderholz. BILD daily reported how a wind turbine tower snapped in half and crashed to the ground. An investigation is also underway there and Süderholz mayor Alexander Benkert ordered the other remaining turbines to be thoroughly inspected.
The tower snapped 25 meters up but that no one was injured.