A new offshore wind farm was recently celebrated by the Government, as mentioned in the last WSCT, Thursday 17th July. The 700 Megawatt ‘Rampion’ wind farm off the coast of Sussex will consist of up to 175 turbines.
However, a study by Imperial College London, Edinburgh University and SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden into the world’s 200,000 wind farms found fires are the second biggest cause of wind turbine accidents after blade failure.
The study in the journal ‘Fire Safety Science’ said incidents of wind turbines catching fire are a big problem and is not being fully reported - with ten times more fires occurring than officially reported.
Despite each wind turbine costing in excess of £2 million, their life expectancy is relatively short and they catch fire because highly flammable materials, hydraulic oil and plastics, are in close proximity to machinery and electrical wires.
Once a turbine catches fire it is almost impossible to put it out due to its height and remote location while the toxic fumes released are damaging the wind power industry’s green credentials.
The Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) Director, John Constable, said: “This work on fire hazards is an important reminder that maintaining wind turbines is no simple matter and there are major hidden costs with important implications for the economic lifetime of the equipment. Just because the wind is free doesn’t mean it is a cheap way of generating electricity.”
The off-shore generating cost to us, the consumer, is three times higher than conventional coal and gas electrical generation. This is before our ‘Green’ subsidies pay for broken blades, fire damaged turbines and replacing these bird exterminators after ten or fifteen years.
David Cameron may have ‘window dressed’ his cabinet, but it’s still the same out of touch Government insisting we close our conventional generating stations to become ‘Green’ no matter the cost to you, I and our bird life.
Arundel and South Downs UKIP Parliamentary Candidate, Chanctonbury, Ashington