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Wind turbine collapses in Northern Ireland

A wind farm in Northern Ireland has closed after a 100m-tall turbine collapsed.

The £2M turbine, supplied by Nordex UK, fell to the ground at Screggagh Windfarm in County Tyrone at 9pm on Friday 2 January.

Wind speeds were said to be moderate. Emergency services attended the scene shortly afterwards. No-one was on the site at the time, and no debris escaped.

However, the wind farm will not operate again until its remaining seven turbines have been declared safe.

Screggagh Windfarm director Doreen Walker said: “We are currently investigating the circumstances that led to the collapse of the turbine at Screggagh windfarm.

“We have been working closely with Nordex UK Ltd, the suppliers of the windfarm turbines, to ensure that the site has been made safe. A further statement will be made once the investigation has been completed and the reasons for the failure confirmed.”

She added: “The Screggagh windfarm has been completely shut down since the wind turbine collapsed. It will remain shut down until Nordex UK has completed a full investigation in to the remaining seven wind turbines and confirmed that they are safe to operate.”

Readers' comments (4)

  • Will the HSE investigate this failure. If they do, will they restrict their findings as they did with the East Ash Farm and Winsdon Farm collapses (Jan 2013)?
    Only after Freedom of Information requests did the HSE publish their reports (in paper form) and reveal the true causes to be poor installation and design. Surely, as a government body, the HSE has a duty to inform the public of any shortcomings of turbine masts, which number over five thousand in the UK.
    I notice the Institution of Mechanical Engineers published a precis of the reports in Oct 2014. Will the NCE follow suit and stand up for engineering honesty?

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  • I agree with Mr. Watts' comments.
    I am not a supporter of wind energy and have a strong view that wind farms are not sustainable. One of the reasons for my view is that I believe that the predicted operating life of the turbines and masts has been over-estimated and that we will see many replacements being required over the years. This will negate a lot of the claimed environmental impact savings associated with wind.
    That being said, it is of paramount importance to any future debate on wind that we are in possession of all the facts. I do not want to be guilty of jumping to conclusions about the longevity of turbines if there are underlying design and construction quality issues in specific cases such as East Ash and Winsdon.
    Furthermore, it is a fundamental tenet of proactive safety management to use the learnings from previous incidents to improve performance and avoid recurrence. Keeping key facts hidden from the people who are in a position to act on them surely flies in the face of this basic principle.

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  • Much of the problem with hidden information on failures is probably associated with legal settlements, which tend to stifle what should be freely available and very useful technical and operational testimony. It leads to the conclusion that the legal profession is more interested in protecting its own interests than those of society at large.

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  • Yes, Alexander, it is quite often the case that legal issues will dissuade interested parties from disseminating useful information. However, in this case, it is information from a government body which is being withheld.

    I don't know how often the HSE keeps it findings of an enquiry undisclosed. I always thought it was supposed to be an objective organisation, pursuing the truth and reporting their findings to the public. Apparently not, though, when it involves wind turbines.

    Is there anybody who can enlighten me as to why the HSE is being so tight lipped? Is there any chance of the NCE asking questions, or would that rock the boat too much?

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  • An update for you all - we have asked and the HSE will not be investigating as they don’t cover Northern Ireland.<br/><br/>We're asking the same question now of HSE NI.

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