Hi All, you may remember back in January 09 we had a blade incident at one of our wind parks, one fell off and one got bent. One was reportedly missing from the scene and then ‘returned’ – but that was just the long grass hiding it.
Without an obvious reason, like lightning for example, we were stumped for a few weeks and into that vacuum stepped a number of ideas as to probable cause. And the story grew from there, and flew round the world.
We promised we’d publish the final Health & Safety report as soon as we got it, and this has taken quite an incredible length of time to get – we got it last week. So here it is.
It doesn’t contain any mention of Aliens, Noodle Monsters or Flying Cows, but it does mention ‘classical fatigue breakage loss profile’ quite a lot. It seems to have basically come down to a manufacturing/tolerance issue – or a gap (between the blade flange and blade adapter – where the blade meets the hub). This gap put extra pressure on certain bolts (that hold the blade on), and eventually they broke.
Our best guess is that the blade that fell off, hit another one on the way down – leaving one whole blade on the turbine, one broken and one on the floor (worse for wear). The surviving blade is now on display at the Ecotech Centre in Swaffham (Norfolk) if anyone wants to see it, or run a Geiger counter over it or something…. 🙂
The speculation was actually great fun, but the fun is over – this report states categorically that:
“The public initial reports and remarks concerning an extraneous cause by third parties e.g. flying objects are already and definitely excluded.”
Sad but true. Unless you think it’s a cover up of course….. 🙂
All the other turbines were checked – no gaps found, or loose bolts. This appears to have been a one off. Certainly it hadn’t happened before and hasn’t since.
So not much more to add really, but there’s plenty of detail in the report if you fancy it.