Erectile dysfunction of a wind turbine

Environmentalists like wind turbines mainly for their phallic symbolism. The sight of multiple phalluses sticking up all over the countryside  makes them feel good about the virility of their “movement”.

The erectile dysfunction problem is probably psychological. As it is, wind turbines are subsidised because they cannot perform with no wind or with high winds. But this collapse was in light winds. A rapid infusion of subsidies would probably help.

Turbine collapse County Tyrone 2nd January 2015 The Independant

Wind turbine No. 3 at the Screggagh wind farm, Northern Ireland (Nordex N80, 2.5MW, 80m rotor) collapsed in light winds – image The Independent

The Nordex N80 wind turbine has an 80m diameter rotor and the tower, from ground level to hub, is also 80m tall. It is supposed to operate between wind speeds of 3 m/s and 25 m/s and its power rating of 2.5 MW is for a wind speed of 15 m/s. It is supposed to be able to withstand a wind speed of 70 m/s (but I suspect that this is just an optimistic calculation and not based on any realistic trials).

The design is with a modular tubular steel lattice tower. From the pictures I would speculate that it is a tower design failure. Possibly the fatigue conditions (caused by rotor imbalance or wind gusts) have been underestimated such that some strength (thickness) has been sacrificed for keeping the weight down.

The Guardian: The cause of the collapse is unclear as winds were light on Friday. It is understood the rotor blades spun out of control and the sound of the mechanical structure crashing to the ground could be heard up to seven miles away.

 

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