From the UK
WIND TURBINES RIPPED APART BY GALE FORCE WINDS IN HUDDERSFIELD
Via Huddersfield Daily Examiner, www.examiner.co.uk
January 6, 2012
Huge turbine blades flew off three windmills as high winds lashed Huddersfield.
There were problems at Hepworth and at two farms in Upper Cumberworth.
But the Brighouse firm who made the damaged turbines has promised a full investigation.
A fourth windmill, in Holmfirth, has also been damaged in the gales of the past few days.
Concerned villagers in Hepworth warned: “Someone could have been killed,” after one of the blades was flung across a road.
Ryan Gill, of Brighouse-based manufacturers Evoco, told the Examiner it is not yet clear why the turbine malfunctioned and investigations are under way.
He blamed the exceptionally strong winds for the damage, adding that the wind turbines are certified under the industry Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).
The Evoco website claims the 10kw turbine has been “specifically designed to reliably deliver high generation performance in harsh wind conditions”.
The windmill in Hepworth was ripped apart in the gale force winds on Wednesday night.
But villagers say the 15m high wind turbine at Upper Woodroyd Barn, off Hog Close Lane in Victoria, is particularly dangerous because it’s close to the road and a danger to the public.
The blades on the 12 metre mast are over two metres long and one flew across a road.
There were also problems with an identical turbine at Far Mount Farm, Intake Lane, Cumberworth.
And a turbine was also damaged at Drake Hill Farm in Cumberworth.
Frances Barnes, who has 10 acres of grazing land for horses close to the Hepworth turbine, said: “It is worrying.
“People objected to the plans when they first went in – not because it is a windmill but because it is so close to a busy road.
“It is frightening to think what may have happened had one of the blades flown into the road and hit a car, or indeed if the wind turbine had come down.”
Another local, who did not want to be named, said one of the turbine blades had ended up in a field at the other side of the road.
He said: “It’s very, very dangerous. There could have been a pedestrian or a car on the road and someone could have been killed.”
Another anonymous villager said: “A lot of complaints went in about that turbine when it was first planned.
“One of the main factors was that the blades of the turbine were horizontal to the road.
“It’s a terrible place to put one because it’s so near to the road.”
But farmer Peter Mitchell – who owns the turbine – told the Examiner he is confident engineers from suppliers Evoco will fix the problem.
He said: “I’m happy with how they’ve said they are going to rectify the problem and they are not going to pull out of any responsibility on this.
“They have always been very helpful and they are trying to sort it out.
“Obviously it’s not the ideal scenario but there was a fault with it.
“We’ve lived up here six years and this is the worst weather we’ve had. We’ve had slates blown off the roof.
“I’m obviously concerned but I’m confident the problem will be rectified.”
l London Fire Brigade attended a string of wind-related incidents across the capital, when gusts blew a wind turbine in Barking and scaffolding in Tavistock Square into “precarious positions”.
FIERCE gales peaked at 71.6mph in Huddersfield with the strongest gusts on record for 11 years.
And Examiner weatherman Paul Stevens said Wednesday was the wettest day the town has seen for the last 12 months, with 51mm of rainfall in just one day.
And he warned that the area will see more of the same storms over the next week.
Chaos was caused in the town, with trees crashing on top of caravans in Upper Cumberworth and sports pitches flooded.
Paul said: “The weather remains changeable and often unsettled for the next seven days – at least with something a little more settled for a time on Sunday before more rain comes in from the west.
“But at least there’s no indications of anything too cold or prolonged, except the odd hail and wintry shower mostly on the hills.”
Nationally, in Hertfordshire a woman and a 10-year-old boy were taken to hospital after a tree crashed on to their car as strong winds returned to sweep the country.
Gusts reaching highs of 87mph were recorded at Capel Curig in Wales at 2am.
In Huddersfield the gale force wind brought trees crashing down – one on top of a caravan at the junction of Dearne Dike Lane and Haddingley Lane, Upper Cumberworth. In Newsome, a tree smashed through a garden wall near the junction of Newsome Road and Dawson Road, while a large branch obstructed the pavement on Birkby Hall Road.
Birchencliffe Petrol Station on Halifax Road had to be cordoned off because of fears the storm-damaged canopy would cave in.
Meanwhile, football and rugby matches on council-managed pitches in Kirklees this weekend have been postponed after consultation with local leagues.
The pitches are saturated following heavy rain over the last few days and the pitches are in an unplayable condition and the decision has been taken to call off all matches.
Safety inspections will be made of the ground conditions by grounds maintenance staff and there will be an extra effort to prepare the pitches for future fixtures.
CONTROVERSIAL WIND TURBINE'S BLADE CRASHES TO GROUND
The Northern Times, via www.northern-times.co.uk
January 6, 2012
Engineers have been urgently summoned to find out why a small wind turbine at a remote north-west Sutherland village hall dramatically lost one of its two blades on New Year’s Eve.
The mangled remains of the fibreglass blade were found lying some 18m from the 6kw wind turbine sited 90m to the south-east of Rhue Stoer Community Hall, Assynt.
It is thought to have flown off overnight on Hogmanay, leaving the structure in a fragile state with its hub cap hanging down and its tail fin pointing upwards.
As the Northern Times went to press yesterday (Thursday) it was reported that the remaining blade had also fallen to the ground.
The 15m high Eoltec Scirocco turbine, manufactured by French firm Eoltec SAS, was given the go-ahead by planners in November 2010 and erected amid huge controversy some six months ago.
Four members of the Rhue Stoer Community Hall Association are understood to have resigned in a row over the turbine.
And East Sutherland and Edderton ward councillor George Farlow, who supported the development, found himself reported to the Public Standards Commissioner for Scotland for allegedly contravening the Councillors’ Code of Conduct by providing planners with inaccurate information and not revealing objections to the turbine that he had received.
The commissioner, in a judgement issued in August this year, exonerated Councillor Farlow from any wrongdoing.
The turbine has since been the subject of a noise complaint which is still under investigation by Highland Council environmental health officials.
Opponents this week said that the latest incident demonstrated that their concerns about the turbine were “fully justified.”
Embarrassed hall managers have now cancelled a planned ceremony tomorrow (Saturday) to mark the erection of the turbine.
Councillor Farlow had been due to unveil a display board in the hall showing the amount of energy generated by the turbine.
But he has now been told that the ceremony will not be taking place, although the community association’s annual New Year Open Afternoon is still expected to go ahead.
Secretary of the Rhue Stoer Community Hall Association, Bob Cook, said he had no idea what had caused the turbine to shed its blade, but vandalism had not been ruled out.
“We don’t know why this blade has come off. It could be a component failure or a failure in the assembly of the turbine or vandalism,” he said.
“We are waiting for engineers to come and lower the turbine and find out exactly what happened and until we get their report, there is no point in speculating.”
However, the high winds which hit the North over the festive period are not thought to have been a factor in the turbine failure.
Mr Cook explained: “We deliberately chose this turbine for its ability to stand up to salt and high winds.
“We did have wind speeds of between 80 and 90mph, but it is built to withstand speeds of up to 140mph so we don’t believe the weather to be a factor.
“A similar turbine is situated near a lighthouse off the coast of Orkney and has been there for well over a year with no problems at all and you cannot get a much rougher location than there.”
Mr Cook said he had been very “taken aback” when he learned about the malfunction.
“It is embarrassing,” he conceded. “And the worst thing about it is that the objectors will be laughing their socks off. I am not worried. Hopefully, it will just be a case of replacing the blades and off it will go again.”
He denied that there had been any risk to passers-by from the flying blade.
“It isn’t next door to a building so the chances of the blade hitting anyone were pretty slim. Maybe if you had been a sheep standing underneath it, then you might have been bonked on the head,” he said.
He added that the turbine, for which the association received a grant aid, had been running smoothly since it was put up.
“It’s been working fantastically well and has generated 10,400 kilowatt hours in the six months that it has been up – that is many thousands of pounds worth in income,” he said.
A local resident, who objected to the turbine and did not want to be named, commented: “We expected this to happen because of the weather here. The village is surrounded by hills so you get a buffeting effect from the wind – it is not the smooth, steady blow a turbine needs to perform well.”
The resident dismissed the suggestion that the turbine could have been vandalised, but said she was not surprised that the suggestion had been made.
She said: “The turbine is the subject of a noise complaint and it has been making some very strange noises lately. The irony is that it was only taken down for servicing on October 18th so it does seems odd that it has suddenly fallen apart.”
Councillor Farlow commented: “This is just one of these things that happens and it can be put right. I have no doubt they will repair it. I also doubt very much that there was any potential for danger.”
He continued: “It was a very controversial planning application and there was a bit of a stushie about the consultation process but it has made folk interested and involved.
“In general terms, there are issues about the neighbourhood planning consultation process but I think that has been sorted out. I have been working with the community council to ensure they are kept as up-to-date as possible about planning applications.”
VESTAS TO REVIEW U.S. OPERATIONS IF PTC EXPIRES: CEO
by Ole Mikkelsen
January 4, 2012
Danish wind turbine maker Vestas will review its manufacturing in the United States in the fourth quarter if the U.S. production tax credit (PTC) is not extended, the group’s chief executive said on Wednesday.
CEO Ditlev Engel also told Reuters that he did not expect to see the same development cost problems with the company’s new 7-megawatt turbine as it has had with the industrialization of its V112-3.0 MW turbine.
“If one looks at the other development in Vestas, then things have gone quite reasonably,” Engel said.
Engel’s remarks followed Vestas’ downgrade of its full-year 2011 guidance on Tuesday due to higher-than-expected costs and delayed revenue.
“In the fourth quarter, we probably must decide what we will do if the PTC is not extended,” Engel said.