Wrecked wind turbine 14 years old

Early morning, last Saturday a windmill near Brandenburg an der Havel lost a blade. The failure occurred after having operated for just 14 years. The life expectancy was at least double that number of years. The citizens' group "Save Brandenburg" warns of the dangers of wind turbines.

POTSDAM -- There is speculation surrounding an incident at a wind energy facility near Brandenburg an der Havel. Last Saturday, a large section of a 38-meter turbine blade broke off and fell to the ground. Details about the incident were not available by Monday, but no one was injured by the falling blade. 

After the first review of the destroyed component, evidence of a lightning strike can be seen. The project operator, Windpark GmbH Prützke, hopes to examine the remaining blades to better understand the cause of the failure. The Company operates twelve wind turbines at the site. The damage is estimated to be around EUR 150 000. The wind turbines are 100 meters high, and each produces about 2.4 million kilowatt hours per year. 

The wrecked wind turbine was nearly 14 years old and, according to operator data, maintenance would have been performed every two years. Wind turbines are built to have a service life of 20 to 30 years. According to Michael Schmidt of the German Wind Energy Association, an incident involving bystanders being hurt has never happened nationwide in the past 20 years of accidents with wind turbines. However, already a technician has been hurt in a turbine accident and six or seven times a year there are reported turbine fires. According to Schmidt, Germany has 26 000 plants. "But of course, the risk of injuries can not be entirely excluded ."

Thomas Jacob of the citizens' initiative "Save Brandenburg", which is gathering signatures for a referendum against wind turbines by July argues that the safety risks are incalculable. "The current case shows that the risk to human life is much too large." In December 2014 in Mühlberg (Elbe-Elster) a complete wind turbine collapsed.

Translated using Google Translate


MAY 3 2016
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