Another WildCat I Blade Failure April 2 – EON and the Commissioners Fail to Protect the Community During Investigation. The turbine is located just east of 500 East and north of Highway 28 in Tipton County.
April 7, 2014 WildCat I loses 2nd Blade in less than 2 months Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile by Ralph Nader, criticized car manufacturers of their reluctance to spend money on improving safety. It was a pioneering work that prompted the passage of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, seat-belt laws and a number of other road-safety initiatives.
While there is a healthy debate among the experts regarding the environmental benefits of wind energy the focus of Tipton County CRD has always been to ensure that wind development is done without harm to homeowners and help with issues faced by the homeowners living with existing wind farms.
As wind energy continues it Wild West approach with impunity in these United States of America it is sobering to glance at the short 5 page summary of accidents, fatalities, affects upon human health, blade failures, fires, structural failures, ice throws and environmental damage caused by the Industrial Wind Turbines (IWT) – http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/accidents.pdf
It is abundantly clear that the Wind Industry cares about their image more than the safety of the people living around their IWTs when their spokesperson, Elon Hasson of Eon in this case, states, “such failures are rare” after the first blade failure in Wildcat-1 in February of this year. GE another wind industry giant followed suit by issuing statement that included, “Blade breaks in wind turbines are rare”.
It is odd that what wind industry continues to call rare seems to happen with awful regularity. According to above cited Caithness Wind Farm Report, almost 30 blade failures occurred last year.
Every industry has issues and CRD is well aware of it. In fact, due to this awareness, CRD has been a proponent of developing wind ordinances while keeping these types of failures in mind. According to Caithness WF Report, “Pieces of blade are documented as travelling up to one mile. In Germany, blade pieces have gone through the roofs and walls of nearby buildings. This is why CWIF believe that there should be a minimum distance of at least 2km between turbines and occupied housing, in order to adequately address public safety and other issues including noise and shadow flicker.”
Even though CRD was able to push for many improvements in the new Tipton County Wind Ordinance glaring omissions exist. The ordinance still allows a setback waiver essentially doing away with the public safety achieved by the 2640ft setback. It still lacks safety enforcements like one is needed right now. Wildcat-1 should be shut down until the nature of blades failures are completely understood.
Tipton County Citizens for Responsible Development has always cited reputable studies when discussing the reliability of wind turbines. According to “Permitting Setbacks for Wind Turbines in California and the Blade Throw Hazard” by Scott Larwood of California Wind Energy Collaborative University of California, Davis,
“The available documentation shows blade failure probability in the 1-in-100 to 1-in-1000 per turbine per year range. There is no indication of improvement of this statistic with new technology.”
Another study, Reliability performance and maintenance – A survey of failures in wind power systems Master Thesis by Johan Ribrant that reviewed actual failure data from wind turbines in Sweden, Finland and Germany concluded even a higher blade failure rate.
The blade failure in Tipton matches these studies, data does not lie.