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New Safety Measures Implemented for Wind Turbines
In December 2011, a wind turbine at the coastal town of Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, Scotland, spectacularly exploded during a storm, triggering claims that turbines cannot cope in extreme weather. But Infinis, the operator of the wind farm, claims in a recent report that the turbines should be able to withstand such conditions if new safety measures are put in place.
The report details how a Vestas Wind Systems suffered two major heat-producing problems that contributed to its structural ignition. First, yaw control on the turbine was lost owing to a gear failure, so the feathered blades could not be pointed into the wind. This meant the turbine head swung back and forth in the wind, generating extreme frictional heat and sparking a fire in the generator enclosure. Second, the turbine was configured to apply a brake to the turbine blades when no power is available to run its electronic systems. So when the wind brought down power lines,...