Documents filed under Safety
Sources of wind and solar electrical power need large energy storage, most often provided by Lithium-Ion batteries of unprecedented capacity. Incidents of serious fire and explosion suggest that the danger of these to the public, and emergency services, should be properly examined. This report examines the risks of these battery systems. The executive summary of the report is provided below. The full report can be accessed at the document links on this page.
Travis Air Force Base Mid-Air Collision Avoidance pamphlets (MACA) for 2007, 2011, 2017, and 2020. In 2011, the MACA was amended to warn about the area over a wind turbine facility as being high-risk for mid-air collisions due to the impact of spinning turbine blades on radar. This warning did not appear in the 2007 MACA. At that time, the impact of the blades on digital radar systems was not well understood. Analog radars are not impacted by the turbines. The area continues to be a high risk for collision and pilots are required to fly with transponders turned on. The pamphlets can be downloaded by clicking the document links on this page. The single page shown below is taken from the 2011 pamphlet.
This paper examines the risks of turbine failures and ice throw on the public. The abstract of the paper can be viewed below. The full paper can be accessed at the links on this page.
On December 24, 2015, a Vestas wind turbine collapsed in Lemnhult, Sweden. More than a year later, the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority has launched its report. The full report, in Swedish, can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. An English summary which is also provded in the report is posted below. Images of the collapsed Vestas V112 turbine can be found here.
RAF pilots have reported a catalogue of near misses with wind farms in the United Kingdom. Pilots are making over 1,000 manual corrections to their charts every month to try and keep up with the changes. This document presents the reports completed by the pilots. The Light Aircraft Association (LAA) also warns there is a potential for a mid-air disaster.
These documents, secured under the Australian Right to Information (RTI) Act, reveal that warnings from the Queensland Government's own noise expert were not provided to the public or passed on to the Planning Department or the Minister for Planning to inform the wind turbine siting process. Dr Antoine David, the noise expert in the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection provided his superiors with a list of nine points of concern regarding the draft Wind Farm Code. The list of his concerns is provided below and can also be found on page 7 of the attached document. A RTI request revealed that, despite making his concerns known within his department, Dr. David's findings were not forwarded to the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, the department responsible for developing the current draft (version 2) of the Wind Farm Code.
This study examined how far full turbine blades, pieces of turbine blades and ice fragments could throw from an operating wind turbine. Full-blade pieces reached approximately 700, 900 and 2000 meter distances when tip speeds were 70, 100 and 150 m/s, respectively.
Kathryn D. Sullivan Ph.D., Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, sent this response to Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer after Senator Fischer contacted NOAA with concerns pertaining to NextEra's proposed Cottonwood wind energy facility which would site dozens of wind turbines within 2-7 miles of the NEXRAD weather radar in Blue Hill, Nebraska. Senator Fischer's constituents contacted her out of concern for their safety if the weather radar was impaired by the turbines. The letter sent by Dr. Sullivan is provided below and can be accessed by clicking the link on this page. Senator Fischer's letter is also available from this page.
The Deputy Secretary of Defense has filed an official objection to the Great Bay Wind Energy Center project proposed by Pioneer Green Energy to be located in Somerset County, Maryland, and in the vicinity of Naval Air Station Patuxent River (NAS Patuxent River) and the Atlantic Test Range (ATR). This notification follows a detailed study of methods to mitigate for impacts of spinning turbines on the naval base mission. The objections raised and conclusion of the DOD report are provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This paper examines the types of major failures found in utility-scale wind turbines and makes recommendations for periodic inspections. The first section of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be accessed from the links on this page.
This letter, signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work, concludes that the turbines proposed for Somerset County in Maryland would "significantly impair or degrade the capability of the Department of Defense to conduct research, development, testing and evaluation, and operations, or to maintain military readiness." Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5), praised the action by the Defense department and stated that the turbines posed "a significant threat to the mission and world-class stealth radar system at Patuxent River Naval Air Station."
The U.S. Navy officially objects to the proposed Great Bay Energy wind facility due to unacceptable impacts to military radar at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. The text of the letter is provided below. The full letter can be downloaded from the links on this page.
This paper aims to summarize the current state of knowledge in this area by fire problems with wind turbines. The authors found that fire is the second leading cause of catastrophic accidents in wind turbines (after blade failure) and accounts for 10 to 30% of the reported turbine accidents of any year since 1980’s. In 90% of the cases, the fire leads to a total loss of the wind turbine, or at least a downtime that results in the accumulation of economic losses.The Abstract and Conclusions of the paper are provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
The NH State Fire Marshal has recommended that Iberdrola's Groton Wind energy facility cease operation until fire safety concerns have been addressed. A letter as well as prefiled testimony submitted by the Fire Marshal's office asserting the facts in the case can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. The NH Site Evaluation Committee has initiated enforcement proceedings against Iberdrola for this an other complaints.
This paper was accepted for presentation at the 11th Symposium of the International Association for Fire Safety Science in New Zealand (Feb 2014). The authors aim to summarize the current state of knowledge in the area of turbine fire by presenting a review of the few sources which are available, in order to quantify and understand the fire problem in wind energy. Fire is the second leading cause of catastrophic accidents in wind turbines (after blade failure) and accounts for 10 to 30% of the reported turbine accidents of any year since 1980’s. The abstract of the paper can be found below. The full paper can be downloaded by clicking the link(s) on this page. For more information visit this link.
This case arises following the approval of a lease by the U.S. Department of Interior to Cape Wind Associates for construction of an offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound. Under the lease, Cape Wind must obtain the Federal Aviation Administration’s (“FAA”) determination whether the turbines pose a hazard to air navigation and comply with any mitigation measures before beginning construction. In Town of Barnstable, Mass. v. FAA, 659 F.3d 28 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (“Barnstable I”), the court held that the “no hazard” determinations in 2010 for each of the wind turbines in a 25–square mile area of Nantucket Sound were “inadequately justified.” Id. at 31. Petitioners now challenge the no hazard determinations in 2012 as similarly deficient for failing to analyze the safety risks posed by the project and to perform an environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 4332. The court denies the petitions for review regarding the 2012 FAA determinations due to changes in radar technology and new FAA studies and analysis.
This paper examines the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Town of Barnstable v. FAA which stalled development of a major offshore wind farm project. This paper argues that the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia was justified in finding the FAA’s first determination to be arbitrary and capricious, and that based upon the initial ruling, the FAA did not correct the fatal flaw in its second determination. The introduction of the paper is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Stuart Young Consulting has reviewed The Highland Council's risk assessment and mitigation measures in siting a wind turbine at the Castletown Primary School as a representative sample of the installations at school playgrounds. The introduction of the review is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Wind energy development in North Carolina and adjoining states can adversely impact Seymour Johnson AFB aircraft utilize low-altitude training airspace. This report, prepared by the 4th Fighter Wing based at Seymour Johnson AFB, assesses the impact of wind projects sited within or near military low-altitude training airspace. The conclusions of the report are provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) at the bottom of this page.