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Notices about ice floe from wind power plants should be displayed in varsom.no

KSU.no|Motvind Norge, Bård S. Solem and Ragnhild Sandøy|January 17, 2022
NorwaySafetyIcing

The danger of ice floe from wind turbines is a new phenomenon in winter nature. Periodically, ice forms on the turbine blades, which are thrown out at 2-300 km/h. During periods of icing, traffic in and near wind power plants can therefore pose a risk to life for animals and people. There are 63 facilities in operation, and many of these are built in hiking areas - which have thus become new risk areas in Norwegian nature. How is the safety of the general public ensured in these facilities?


Kjeller wind technology has calculated throw lengths of from 250 to 580 meters on Haramsøya.  Large parts of the mountain will thus be in the risk zone for large parts of the winter "in cold weather", as the warning signs indicate.  The hiking trails run close to several of the turbines, and this entails a great danger of being hit by ice floe.  

The danger of ice floe from wind turbines is a new phenomenon in winter nature. Periodically, ice forms on the turbine blades, which are thrown out at 2-300 km/h. During periods of icing, traffic in and near wind power plants can therefore pose a risk to life for animals and people. There are 63 facilities in operation, and many of these are built in hiking areas - which have thus become new risk areas in Norwegian nature.

How is the safety of the general public ensured in these facilities? Who is responsible for safety and reliable notification of the danger of ice floe from wind turbines? Who is responsible on the day an ice blast accident occurs? How to improve security? These are questions that must now be taken seriously!

In an article at TU Energi on 3 January 2022 , reference is made to a warning system that NVE approved in a letter on 15 December 2021 for 12 wind power plants. As a minimum, a reliable and automatic notification system must be introduced for all wind power plants and communicated via a common portal such as Varsom.no as soon as possible.

Insufficient notification

The facility at Haramsfjellet is an example where the warning system does not protect people's lives and health. Several turbines have been built close to the hiking trail, and the turbine blades only sweep 6-14 meters above the ground. The plant has been in partial operation since November 2021, without any warning system being in place - only signs referring to general information about ice floe on the website of Zephyr AS. The public must assess the icing potential in the facility and the risk of ice floe.

The situation on Haramsøya becomes even more serious since those who live on the island have no alternative paths to the mountains. The danger of ice floe comes in addition to the many other burdens the wind power project has caused this local community.

On Haramsfjellet, icefall has occurred since last November. The documentation group on Haramsøya has written about this several times, see No to wind power plants on Haramsøya!   A warning system has been promised since May 2021, but by New Year's Eve at the latest, information signs had not even been put up. People are afraid to go on Mount Haram. The turbine blades whiz a few meters above their heads, and people have to assess the risk and danger themselves. Kjeller Vindkraftteknikk has calculated a throw length from 250 to 580 m at Haramsøya.

On 2 January 2022, the Aksjonsgruppa against wind power on Haramsøy reported Haram kraft AS and Zephyr AS to the police for a lack of ice storm warning. On 3 January, signs were put up - with reference to the websites of Zephyr AS.

Safety work cannot be based on average figures

The action group on Haramsøya has per 3 January 2022 documented three periods of ice floe since November 2021. NVE has not imposed an automatic ice floe warning for Haramsøya.

For Haramsøya, Kjeller Vindteknikk has calculated in May 2021 that icing occurs on average only 1.6 episodes or 18 hours a year. They consider this to be a modest icing potential that does not give cause for concern. The real icing potential has already been documented to be significantly higher.

NVE spends considerable resources on calculating avalanches, 100-year landslides and 50-year landslides and self-triggered landslides. This is communicated on the notification service Varsom.no .

In safety work, one takes into account to prevent danger when the risk is relevant and in connection with danger one must of course take into account the risk in extreme situations, not average and normal figures! It must also apply to the actual risk in and near the wind power plant.

Online automatic notification is required

The system for automatic web-based notification of the risk of icefall that NVE recently approved applied to facilities belonging to the companies Fosen Vind DA, Roan Vind DA, Vardafjellet Vindkraft AS, Tonstad vindpark AS, Guleslettene Vindkraft AS, Troms Vind AS, Raudfjell Vind AS and Ånstadblåheia Vindpark AS.  

These companies have received funding for an R&D project where a warning system has been established at 12 wind power plants which consists of warning signs around the plants combined with automatic web-based warning and which continuously assesses the icing potential 2 days ahead. This should give the public a better opportunity to assess their own risk when traveling in or near wind power plants.

NVE asked in a letter of 15/12/2021 to be kept up to date on the results and for the concessionaires to report the experiences from the 2021/2022 winter season by 15/05/2022. Thus, NVE has closed its case. 51 facilities are still without automatic notification. This is not good enough!

Ice storm warnings should be entered at varsom.no 

It must be easy for the general public to find information about the risk of ice floe from wind power plants. The information must be reliable and up-to-date at all times, and the public must not have to search through the multitude of private companies to find notices online.

Operating personnel complete courses and follow established safety routines with regard to the risks in the facilities. On Øyfjellet, a worker was hit and injured by a throw of ice in the autumn of 2021.

NVE's warning service varsom.no is a joint portal that warns of the danger of avalanches, floods, landslides, rock slides and icing on regulated waterways. It would be natural for NVE to take notices of the risk of ice and snow flurries at wind power plants into varsom.no. We first proposed this on 8 April 2021, most recently on 23 December 2021. So far we have not registered any repsons from NVE.

As of today, 63 wind power plants are in operation around the country, many in old hiking areas. Many facilities have been in operation for several years, and the companies encourage people to travel in the facilities. The danger of ice floe has been known for a long time, both in the industry and in the administration. The situation is not reassuring.

NVE should long ago have provided for a joint notification system that is easily accessible to the public. There is no better solution than developing a warning on NVE's own warning service varsom.no. The costs should of course be financed by the industry, but we can see no reason for NVE to delay implementing a central web-based and joint notification service at varsom.no.  

Translated to English using Google Translate


Source:https://ksu.no/artikler/kroni…

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