PADERBORN. On a field near Borchen-Etteln, the third heavy wind turbine accident in the district of Paderborn occurred within two years. On Thursday evening, two of the three rotor blades were completely shredded, several glass fiber-plastic fragments fell to the ground. The cause of the accident is currently being investigated by experts but initial reports suggest a manufacturing error.
At the time of the incident mechanics were on site, but were able to escape the disaster. For safety reasons, the area around the accident site has been closed within a radius of 500 meters. The wind turbine is a not-yet-commissioned. The ENERCON E-115 system has a rated output of 3,000 kW. The hub height is 149 meters, the rotor diameter 115 meters, so that the system is a total of 200 meters high (656 feet).
Plant should be up and running soon
The client is the local company Westfalenwind, which currently operates eleven E-115 turbines in a circle and plans to build a total of seven in Etteln. However, the owner of the damaged installation is Enercon until commissioning. Originally, the wind turbine was due to be placed online on March 31st. The building permit was granted on 27 December 2016, according to the municipality Borchen. On January 2, 2018 the construction of a rotor blade heating systems was approved. Rotor blades can be deiced with these retrofittable systems.
The owner, Enercon, said that the rotor blades were damaged during final construction work. According to information from the Neue Westfälische, possibly strong wind caused the rotor to spin. This could have been in a spin, whereupon the rotor blades hit the tower and broke apart.
"Something did not work"
Normally the motor is locked to prevent rotation. "Something has not worked," said an Enercon spokesman to the NW. The amount of damage is not yet determined.
After completion of the investigation, which could take some time, the damaged plant should be repaired and placed operation as soon as possible. However, for the project to proceed, the district of Paderborn must first grant a permit.
The citizens 'initiative "Gegenwind Borchen" shows on its website photos of fiberglass parts of the shredded rotors, which were scattered several hundred meters away. Since the parts are very small, it would be impossible to clean.The citizens' initiative called the damage an "environmental catastrophe", and a threat to animals and haymaking.
Kreis rejects required building freeze
Borchen's mayor, Reiner Allerdissen, reacted quickly and clearly: "Until the cause of the accident is clarified and because of the obvious danger, I call for an immediate halt to construction at the facilities. In addition, the operation of the same equipment must be discontinued," he said in writing. His requirement, the administration confirmed, refers to facilities in the municipality Borchen.
Alldissens insisted that the Paderborn licensing authority reject the permit but District Spokesperson Michaela Pitz disagreed.
"Until the cause of the failure is understood, it would be absolutely disproportionate to shut down all facilities of the same type," said Pitz. Since 2014, 44 wind turbines of the type E-115 have been built in the county area. "So far without any problems," he said. 42 more E-115 are planned or are currently being built. According to Enercon, there are 820 E-115 turbines worldwide, but there have never been any comparable damage.
Translation from German to English using Google Translate.