80m wind turbine in Co. Tyrone: another catastrophic failure

Posted: January 3, 2015 by tallbloke in wind
Tags: , ,

This one has folded like a bent straw. Reports from Demotix and The Ulster Herald 80m-turbine-fail1 Part of one of the blades is embedded javelin style in the ground half a mile away. Pic below the break.



  1. […] 80m wind turbine in Co. Tyrone: another catastrophic failure | Tallbloke’s Talkshop. […]

  2. Graeme No.3 says:

    You can’t rely on them to produce electricity but they do make headlines.

    One wonders what the media will say if a piece of blade kills someone.

  3. Konrad. says:

    This failure is a concern. This is not bolts or weld fatigue. This is failure of the main tower due to “flutter” or resonance. Some part of the blade assembly has failed leading to repetitive asymmetric forces on the tower matching its resonant frequency. (note – failure has occurred in clean material clear of welds, in the widest part of the structure and just above the area the door reinforcement disrupts resonance). The increased noise heard by people close prior to failure is a good indicator of what has occurred.

    The problem here is that auto-brake did not engage in response to asymmetric loads. Further, fragments were thrown over 500m. These failures will increase as will the risk to public safety as these bird blenders age. Currently just maintenance cost per MWH for bat bursters rivals total wholesale electricity cost for gas per MWH. As the Big Wind subsidy farming ponzi scheme dies, so will maintenance dollars.

    In the interests of public safety, it is the duty of all citizens to deal with these towers of scientific shame safely. [Snip]

    [Mod note] Don’t advocate criminal actions on my website please..

  4. edhoskins says:

    European nations have already committed massive investments to Renewable Energy, Wind and Solar power.

    According to Renewable Energy industry sources conservatively in capital costs alone this amounts to at least ~$0.5 trillion to provide ~2.9% of European Generating capacity.

    Renewable Energy costs are about 16 times more than Gas Fired generation and across Europe it has 5.7 times less productive capacity i.e. only about ~17.5%.

    For the full data see:

    This investment has resulted an installed Nameplate Capacity of ~169Gigawatts which produces in reality a “nominal” ~30Gigawatts of electrical Generating Capacity, that is 17.5% of the its nameplate capacity.

    As is well proven in France, the most effective way of controlling and reducing CO2 emissions, if it were needed, is by the use of Nuclear power for electricity generation. CO2 emissions per head in France are now at 75% of CO2 emissions per head in China.

    At the resulting price $16.87 billion/Gigawatt for Renewable Energy, replacement of the 1024GW European Generating fleet would cost about $17.3trillion, a sum close to the whole annual GDP of the European Union.

    But the “nominal” 30GW of Renewable Energy production is not really as useful as one would wish, because of its production is intermittent and not dispatchable.

    These uneconomic investments have been promoted by government subsidies and other government market manipulation.

    But the expense of the policies has been loaded mainly on the electrical bills of Electricity customers:
    these policies have already caused very substantial hardship to poorer individuals in European society
    these policies are severely damaging the competitiveness of European industries.

    and further data at

  5. Richard111 says:

    Good thing nobody was inside!

  6. hunter says:

    Just back from holiday travels. Happy New Year wishes to all.

    Your call to terror tactics and the destruction of property is unacceptable. You are beyond wrong in calling for criminal violence against property like this.
    TB, please remove that post. Konrad does skeptics as a whole no good by using the same sort of calls to violence that climate kooks rely on. In my respectful opinion, you hurt your site by permitting Konrad’s ill-conceived post to stay up on your site.

  7. Richard111 says:

    Oh, I forgot. Seems like you can grow your own fossil fuel in your own back yard. Towards the bottom of the page for the small ventures.


  8. tallbloke says:

    Konrad: Tut tut.

    Hunter: Dealt with as soon as I saw it. FWIW in this country, ‘violence’ is against the person. Property destruction which could endanger life is ‘reckless criminal damage’.

  9. tallbloke says:

    It’s hard to tell from the photo, but it looks like the skin of the tower has burst open on the right side near the fold. Whether that is a weld seam or a flaw in the steel sheet is for the inspectors to determine. Either way, you can be sure the report will be hushed up, just like all the others.

    This is unacceptable. Elfensafety have to make and independent report and make it public. We have a right to know, commercial sensitivity be damned.

  10. tallbloke says:

    Konrad: failure has occurred in clean material clear of welds, in the widest part of the structure and just above the area the door reinforcement disrupts resonance

    Maximum stress occurs at the point furthest from the maximum oscillation (the generator set) . As you say, the door area is reinforced, and the failure is just above that area.

    Brakes are supposed to operate when things get out of flunter. They either didn’t, or weren’t up to the job. I’d like to see the output from the site anenometer so we knew what windspeeds were up there when it went down.

  11. craigm350 says:

    Reblogged this on the WeatherAction News Blog and commented:
    Mother Nature gives her opinion on mankind’s latest folly 😀

  12. oldbrew says:

    ’embedded javelin style in the ground half a mile away’

    The Ulster Herald says the official guidelines are that nobody should live within 500 metres.
    Which is obviously a lot less than half a mile.

    Then there’s the noise issue as well.


  13. Oh, but don’t you see? This is the perfect opportunity for claims that global warming – I mean climate change – no, sorry, climate disruption – no, well, whatever we’re calling it now, has become so severe that it is even defeating our Green technologies meant to mitigate it. In other words: It’s worse than we thought!

  14. tchannon says:

    “Barclays bank is to lend Screggagh Wind Farm €35m ($42.8m) to build eight 2.5 megawatt (MW) turbines, according to a report in the Irish Times.”

  15. tchannon says:

    Stress raiser… bad design.

    Evidence Photo at ulsterherald

    The tube has not failed, termination structure has.

    Going further, I expect there is a stiffness mismatch between the tube and ground structure. Allowing movement is critical. You want the tube to bend but maintaining a smooth stress termination is difficult. That doorway… look closely around the doorway, I think there are signs of a distorted stress profile, constrained buckling.

    Given the news reports mention probable head machinery failure some time prior to main structure failure there would be excess stress but handling fault conditions is part of good design practice.

    A provisional look at wind data points to catastrophic damage during a minor atmospheric pressure centre passing by with associated strong wind and wind sheer. This further suggests latent weakness from prior damage by more severe storms or latent in manufacturing.

  16. Trick says:

    tallbloke 1:41pm: “Maximum stress occurs at the point furthest from the maximum oscillation..”

    Max. bending load not necessarily max stress. This is simple hollow cantilever beam. Compressive longitudinal stress in the skin on the side that buckled and tension stress on the other side skin where the small crack seems evident which likely happened after catastrophic buckling and/or skin crippling failure. If it is a crack then likely not a cause but a result. The photo shows the tension side failing inward as expected.

    This is apparently a monocoque cylinder beam similar to stressed skin airplane wings. However, airplane wings are semi-monocoque having internal ribs/bulkheads to brace or support the stressed skins against each other.

    IIRC photos looking inside past wind tower failures – there are no internal skin support ribs. An FEA or beam bending stress calculation sometimes ignores the crushing loads trying to drive the skins together which appears to be possible failure mode in the picture. They may be well advised to add some ribs/bulkheads to countermeasure that failure mode. Reanalyze all existing towers using this design taking into account applied loads (with safety factor) analyzing for any ignored skin crushing and/or local skin buckling/crippling stress failure modes.

    Per the top post 1st sentence, take a soda straw (or solid rubber eraser) and bend it. Watch what happens to the skin – it will depress inward on tension side trying to minimize energy in the outer fiber. Just like the 1st photo. The hollow straw will fail in crippling and/or buckling on the compression side likely before the tension stress cracks the tension side.

    Per Tim’s 3:51pm comment, Barclay’s should now insist on that structural analysis being completed by competent stress engineers with local crippling stress verified by strain gages – with safety factor.

  17. A C Osborn says:

    Hooray, another “good” Wind Turbine, as in the only good one is a dead one.

  18. oldbrew says:

    Based on 2012 US reported insurance claims:

    ‘Since 2008, GCube has paid out over $200,000,000 in claims to the renewable energy industry, with the majority of this figure coming from the wind sector. As a result of GCube’s long established history and leadership position in the industry, this amount far exceeds that of any other insurer in the renewable energy space.’


    Gear box failure and blade damage lead the way.

  19. ferdberple says:

    the official guidelines are that nobody should live within 500 metres.
    if one could only require that the officials live within the guidelines.

  20. A C Osborn says:

    oldbrew says: January 3, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Based on 2012 US reported insurance claims:

    ‘Since 2008, GCube has paid out over $200,000,000

    Yeah Gods $200M and that is only one Insurer, I bet that is not built in to Energy cost calculations.

  21. Brenda Herrick says:

    The industry guarantees confidentiality to its members reporting incidents – see http://www.renewableuk.com/en/our-work/health-and-safety/incidents–alerts.cfm

    HSE “do not currently have a database of wind turbine failures on which they can base
    judgements on the reliability and risk assessments for wind turbines” http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr968.pdf

    That’s why so many people use the CWIF site as the only record although the tip of the iceberg http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/AccidentStatistics.htm . There were 3 failures similar to this Irish one in 7 days in December – one in Scotland, one Germany, one US. But still the industry claims they are rare !

  22. Scott says:

    There are eye witnesses claiming Don Quixote de La Mancha and Pancho were in the area and may have attacked the windmill.

  23. vukcevic says:

    One second hand wind turbines for sale, one previous careful owner.

  24. Konrad. says:

    tallbloke says:
    January 3, 2015 at 1:20 pm
    [snip] accepted and deserved. I had intended that as comedy, but as Hunter showed it could easily have been misinterpreted by others. I do not advocate criminal damage to property (or sacred archaeological sites), I prefer to leave that to members of environmental NGOs 😉

    However my point about public safety and maintenance is serious. Big Wind subsidy farmers keep lying and saying that if only they got enough bird blenders, maintenance cost would come down due to economies of scale. However due to the fundamental design problems and the access problems, both geographic and vertical, this can never be. It is not enough that parties like UKIP seek to end subsidies, legislation needs to be introduced to safely decommission these religious icons if solvency for ongoing maintenance cannot be demonstrated. In Australia, it is not just illegal to trade while insolvent, penalties may also apply to directors who trade while knowing that they are about to become insolvent.

    As to the fundamental design problems, many of the problems are similar to helicopters. Helicopters are often described as “2000 parts that all hate each other flying in loose formation”. Choppers usually require a major inspection every 150 flight hours. Critical bolts are marked with paint stripes so you can see what is shaking itself loose in preflight inspection. If helicopters received as little maintenance as the bat bursters, no one would allow them within a mile of a populated area.

    Just like helicopters, horizontal axis wind turbines are constantly trying to tear themselves apart. Problems that have been solved in helicopters with asymmetric disk loading (off-axis main shaft, elastomeric vertical joints and horizontal pivots at blade root) cannot be solved for wind turbines due to the vertical orientation of the disk. A horizontal axis machine is never “smoothly” rotating. Ground friction means air speed over the lower half of the disk is lower than the upper half. Further as each descending blade passes in front of the tower, down stream flow disruption effects blade lift upstream. Minor deceleration and acceleration of blades is constantly occurring. The blade mount can be made strong enough to cope, but the pulsation is just transferred into the gearbox. These machines will keep failing, and failure rate will just increase as they age.

  25. Streetcred says:

    Trick says: January 3, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Barclay’s should now insist on that structural analysis being completed by competent stress engineers with local crippling stress verified by strain gages (sic) – with safety factor.

    I doubt that they’d do that … it would constrain the feedbag strapped under their snouts. No, all they will do is ensure that their cashflow stream is reinforced with undertakings and guarantees from the government.

  26. […] Streetcred on 80m wind turbine in Co. Tyrone… […]

  27. M Simon says:

    Streetcred says:
    January 4, 2015 at 2:01 am

    Government undertakers making undertakings? Seems appropriate. Death and taxes.

  28. M Simon says:

    Don’t advocate criminal actions on my website please.

    Near impossible to avoid these days, eh? wot.

  29. hunter says:

    Thanks. The difference and distinction is interesting.
    Konrad, I suspected an attempt at humor, but here in the US at least things get unfunny far too quickly if lefty idols or ideas are publicly ridiculed. Only NGOs get to do those things, as you point out. Your insights on the fundamental flaws of windmill power are devastating and should be enough to end this sorry chapter if the NGO’s and big green had rigged the game so favorably to their wallets.

  30. polski says:

    I have a 20yo nephew who is working at Mammoet Crane and is keen on being an operator. He has been working 60hr/wk as of late since the company has been hired to help repair/replace bearings in wind turbines which are less than 10yo. Seeing this early failure rate he should have quite a future!

  31. tchannon says:

    Mammoet seem to do heavy and awkward lifting, a nice little earner. I’m sure they love to take the money of fools. Probably a fun business out on the road, or at least fun in hindsight… too many stories to tell myself which at the time were ghastly.

  32. Centinel2012 says:

    Reblogged this on Centinel2012 and commented:
    Wind Turbines are a really stupid way to generate power, so no loss.

  33. tallbloke says:

    Konrad: Sorry I felt the need to err on the side of caution, but the powers that be would love to find an excuse to shut us down. Thanks for your engineering insights and keep it coming.

    Brenda H: Thanks for the links.

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  35. tallbloke says:

  36. tallbloke says:

  37. oldbrew says:

    ‘New figures show £53m was given to the wind industry last year to keep turbines switched off to regulate electricity supplied to National Grid’


    How much do power stations get paid when they go to standby to make way for part-time wind power – £0 ?

  38. tallbloke says:

    80m, 100m, 200ft. Nobody knows… 🙂


    DOZENS of 200ft wind turbines identical to the stricken model which collapsed in Co Tyrone remain in operation across Ireland, despite being branded “ticking time bombs.”
    Manufacturers Nordex confirmed last night they have installed 58 N80/2500 turbine in Ireland – 44 in the north and 14 in the south.
    They also have 119 of their N90/2500 model running.
    Spokesman Ralf Peters said the Screggagh wind farm near Fintona had been shut down only “as a precaution” and other sites remain active.
    The turbine was one of eight at the farm, which opened in 2011 at a total cost of £26 million.
    “The investigation is still running (data analysis and at site).
    “At that point we are not advising any operators of N80/2500 to turn off their wind farms,” he said.
    Mr Peters insisted that an order for 26 wind turbines for a project in Cork will go ahead.
    Green Energy Supply is to install turbines in Knockduff in August, after inking the deal with Nordex last month.
    They are a higher speed model.
    He insisted the company “have not seen a comparable incident before”, with the N80/2500 manufactured since 2001 and installed in Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, UK, Japan and China.
    However, campaigners are pressing for a complete review of distances from wind turbines to homes, schools and workplaces.
    Owen McMullan from West Tyrone against Wind Turbines called for a complete halt on all industrial wind turbines operation until the out-come of the independent investigations.
    “These industrial wind turbines are ticking time bombs and fire hazards.”
    He said the Department of the Environment is “severely lacking in their duty of care”, with policies offering “no protection whatsoever to its citizens.”
    A department spokeswoman said it is finalising its \Strategic Planning Policy Statement’, which “seeks to shape clear and concise planning policy.”
    However, she added it already “considers the potential impacts on public safety, human health and residential amenity in the determination of all planning applications for wind turbines and wind farms.”
    In 2012, Nordex was fined £26,000 after admitting health and safety failings at a site in Stirlingshire where a 19-year-old worker fell 100ft down a turbine to his death.
    And in September 2013 an eight-year-old Nordex turbine in a German wind farm reportedly caught fire.

  39. According to SEMO, the wind farm was running at 80% output (capacity factor) just before the collapse. Then output fell linearly as brakes were applied on the remaining 7, then complete shutdown.So high winds brought this piece of junk down.

  40. EnergyDave says:

    How far was the debris thrown? We’ve seen various figures used as comparisons to planning conditions. 500m, 1000m, a mile, across the road about 400m away. My sources suggest the furthest was just over 250m away.

  41. tallbloke says:

    I think a chunk of blade was found 1/2 mile away.

  42. oldbrew says:

    Anti-wind power noises from Canada:

    ‘“It’s time to end this ripoff,” said MPP Monte McNaughton, one of five candidates for the Ontario Conservative leadership and the only one from the southwest where many of the province’s wind farms are located.’

    ‘McNaughton said he’d repeal legislation that allows turbines to be built and decommission ones already on the grid.’


  43. Alan M Dransfield says:

    Another WT boondoggles bites the dust and don’t hold your breath for the HSE to reveal the truth which is clearly “steel failure of the main structure”.
    The HSE in Devon didn’t even visit the site of a collapsed WT and allowed the contractor to install and replacement WT of the failed anchor bolts.
    I had to rely on the FOI to obtain the HSE report which confirmed the root cause for the Devon WT failure was poor design,construction and supervision , hence why the hell did they not condemn the foundation??!!
    Only a matter of time before one of these Monsters collapses on a school,motorway or railway.

  44. Alan M Dransfield says:

    There is now conclusive evidence the HSE NI are complicit with a coverup of this particular WT collapse. They took 8 months to conduct an inquiry and STILL failed to identify the REAL issues. It’s only a matter of time before we need body bags on one of these WT collapses. HSENI are pissing in the same pot as the WT sharks and breaching the FOI act to boot
    .i will be publishing the HSE report in the next few days which is concrete evidence the HSE are ON THE TAKE