Researchers are examining what caused a UK wind turbine to catch fire in the presence of hurricane-strength winds on 8 December 2011.
Located in Scotland, the wind turbine was part of the Ardrossan array and erupted into flames when the covered nacelle was set alight.
Earlier, Infinis, which owns the farm, had temporarily disabled it, with local wind speeds forecast to well exceed 100 mph. “Infinis confirms that a nacelle on a turbine at its Ardrossan wind farm, Ayrshire, Scotland, caught fire in extreme stormy weather conditions”, a representative for the firm said, in a statement.
He continued: “The fire had extinguished itself before the fire services arrived and did not result in personal injury. As a standard precautionary measure, all Infinis staff vacate wind farms when wind speeds exceed 55 mph and therefore no one was present on site at the time of the incident.”
Wind Turbine Fire
The wind turbine fire incident involved a product made by Vestas Wind Systems A/S – the globally-dominant wind turbine manufacturing firm.
“The local distribution network operator, Scottish Power, was immediately notified of the incident and the site has been disconnected from the electricity network as a precautionary measure”, the Infinis representative added. “The cause of the fire is not yet known and Infinis has taken immediate steps to investigate the incident fully.”
UK Turbine Fire
The winds in Scotland around the time of the UK turbine fire peaked in other locations at 165 miles per hour – a 25-year high.
It’s so far estimated that over 60 per cent of the UK’s installed wind power capacity was affected as a result of these winds which, as this article was being written, had subsided somewhat.
Data has already emerged from individual wind power firms on the impact caused by the powerful gusts. Three of EON AG’s UK wind farms, for example, were put out of operation.
The modern generation of wind turbine designs stop working automatically in instances where wind speeds exceed 55 miles per hour. That leaves older-style wind turbines more easily damaged, since they don’t necessarily have this closure feature.
Image copyright Leslie Barrie – Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
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