Wind turbine breaks apart at Australia Antarctic base

Posted: November 8, 2017 by oldbrew in News, turbines, wind
Tags: ,

The head of a turbine is lying on the ground at Australia’s Mawson Antarctic base [image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard]

Flying turbines ahoy! Fossil fuel to the rescue as usual.

The blades of a wind turbine at an Australian Antarctic base broke off and narrowly missed a storage building as they crashed to the ground, reports, forcing the icy outpost to switch to backup power.

The head of the turbine, one of two at Mawson station, plunged 30 metres (100 feet) on Tuesday evening, despite there being only moderate gusts of wind at the time.

All 13 members of the expedition at the station are safe, and were inside their living quarters at the time, said Rob Wooding, general manager of support and operations at the base.

The second turbine was deactivated as a precaution, with the base switching to its diesel generators.

“While Mawson can experience regular blizzards, the conditions over the last few days have been moderate, with wind gusts of up to 40 knots,” he said.

The turbine was built by the German company Enercon, and went into operation in 2003.

“The cause of the incident is unknown and will be fully investigated,” said Wooding, adding that regular maintenance was carried out on the turbines.

Mawson, named after polar explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, is one of three Australian bases in Antarctica. Established in 1954, it is the longest continuously operating station south of the Antarctic Circle.

Source: Wind turbine breaks apart at Australia Antarctic base |

  1. Jamie Spry says:

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Unreliable-energy strikes again.

    Too little wind – no power. Too much wind – calamity.

    THE mad obsession with novelty, symbolic, weather-dependent “save the planet” energy sources echoes the jingle from the Kellogg’s cereal ad of the 90’s “not too little, not too much, just right”.

  2. oldbrew says:

    ‘only moderate gusts of wind at the time’ – so wind at the time not the likely cause.

    Possibly wear and tear, or maintenance mistake/omission? Not many wind turbine service engineers in Antarctica.
    A long way to go to work on only two turbines.

  3. thefordprefect says:

    They should have used coal – much more reliable.
    How far have they put off limits because of contamination?
    If nuclear had been used would the evacuation zone be less?

  4. JB says:

    Nothing about the temperatures experienced since installation. Surely that has got to be a lubrication nightmare for the turret. It also looks like the mast was installed too close to the building. It may never come down, but then if it does….

  5. oldmanK says:

    If it is engineering it is susceptible to failure, – nothing is immune and one learns to trust no one from design to operation.

  6. Gamecock says:

    Wind turbine at remote station is an excellent application of the technology. Not so much here.

  7. wolsten says:

    Locally, one liberated its blades just missing a chap walking his dog. We have also had two burn themselves to the ground, one of which was only months old. You can’t say life isn’t exciting near wind turbines.

  8. p.g.sharrow says:

    A 15 year old windmachine is nearing the end of it’s life. Just normal wear and tear of a machine in harsh conditions. The “flap” of the blades as they pass the pylon as well as that caused by wind pressure differences from top to bottom of their swing results in constant self-destruct forces on the machine. The question is not if the machine will fail, just how soon will it fail…pg

  9. oldmanK says:

    Quoting pg sharrow “The “flap” of the blades as they pass the pylon….” That brings memories. Plenty of trouble, but also a career maker for any maintenance engineer. Sort of ‘flutter’, experienced in turbine blades and boiler tubes (or aircraft wings ).

  10. oldbrew says:

    Date: 08/11/17 Dr John Constable: GWPF Energy Editor

    New data relating to the sale of a 50% share in the Walney Offshore Wind Farm extension project confirms the conclusions of the GWPF’s recent study, ‘Offshore Wind Strike Prices: Behind the Headlines (2017)’: offshore wind capital costs are not falling, and appear to be rising due to the costs of construction in deeper water.

  11. p.g.sharrow says:

    @ oldbrew; Wait until they get to the real cost of maintenance. The investors will feel like a bunch of plucked turkeys. Their only escape from that cash drain will be to sell or declare bankruptcy.
    I’ll bet the rate payers will be sold down the river by their politicians to keep the lights on by nationalizing the ever increasing cost.

    The cheapest out is to scrap the wind turbine projects at ANY cost and get on with the only solution to providing Dependable, Affordable, electrical power. Nuclear power generation is the only proven solution to powering future civilization needs.

    Tell the Ecoloons and their greedy graft collecting hangerons, We don’t need them!…pg