Oooops! (at least they didn’t name it ‘robust’)

So much for Endurance…

Bradworthy Endurance Wind Power E-3120 turbine

From Louise Gray at The Telegraph:

Wind turbine collapses in high wind

A controversial 115ft wind turbine has collapsed after being hit by heavy winds.

The £250,000 tower, which stood as tall as a ten storey building, was hit by gale force gusts of 50mph.

The structure then collapsed at a farm in Bradworth, Devon, leaving a “mangled wreck”.

Margaret Coles, Chairwoman of Bradworthy District Council, said hail storms and strong winds have hit the area and the turbine, installed just three years ago, simply could not withstand the wind. 

“The bolts on the base could not withstand the wind and as we are a very windy part of the country they [the energy company] have egg on their face,” she said. “There are concerns about safety.”

The Bradworthy Parish Council, who opposed the turbine, expressed concern that there was “nothing exceptional” in the speed of the winds.

Installed by renewable energy company Dulas it was supposed to have a life expectancy of 25 years.

Full story here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/9837026/Wind-turbine-collapses-in-high-wind.html

==============================================================

Of course, Ms. Gray calls a 50 mph wind a “high wind”, but that sort of wind isn’t an unusual event for the area. Besides, the specs for the Endurance E-3120 wind turbine say:

Endurance_2120_spec

Given its, ahem, endurance, one wonders if the council will allow it to be reconstructed. I’m thinking no.

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188 thoughts on “Oooops! (at least they didn’t name it ‘robust’)

  1. London Bridge is falling down,falling down, falling down,
    London Bridge is falling down,
    My fair lady.

  2. The £250,000 tower……………………………..that’s almost $1/2 a million!

    …..good grief

  3. “The bolts on the base could not withstand the wind ”

    It seems they used cheap China steel bolts made from cars after the cash for clunkers program in the usa? Hardened bolts would of never broke and seems someone made the wrong choice. Time for the tax payers to pay up for replacing all the bolts on the turbines across the UK now?

  4. Installed by renewable energy company Dulas it was supposed to have a life expectancy of 25 years.
    I do hope that this ‘life expectancy’ was contractual and included the amount of power to be generated per quarter for that 25 year life with a requirement to return the site to its pristine state should these values not be met. Unfortunately, I would expect not.

    The UK landscape is going to be littered with broken and corroding wind mills. They are not ‘wind farms’ they are subsidy farms as soon as the subsidy stops or doesn’t support the profits the companies will declare bankruptcy and leave their broken subsidy farms in place as monuments to political stupidity. This is already the case in places in Hawaii and California.

  5. Oh, but what CAUSED those unexceptional winds???? Hmmmmm? Bleccck. (/sarc just in case)

  6. Hmmm, yes. I t has certainly been windy here in Devon recently, but definitely nothing exceptional. People in rural Devon – and indeed our neighbours in the county of Cornwall – feel they have been targeted by developers wanting to erect turbines or to cover acres of green field land in solar panels. If this helps local people to fight the developments it is great,

  7. While I think these are a silly technology, I would guess a faulty material/installation as the root cause of this failure. Even ‘hurricane’ force winds are well below the 116mph maximum rating, which is about the top range for Chinook winds I’ve experienced east of the Rockies.

  8. My guess is the failure analysis will say the installation contractor used defective or below spec anchor bolts. The “specified” bolts would not have failed at 30% of maximum load.

    Bill

    REPLY: Unless of course the bolts are supplied by the company. – Anthony

  9. Wind speed is greater the more distance to the ground you have. If it was 52 mph measured roughly 2m above the ground (a typical weather station), I bet the structure suffered some more. Anyway, it would still be far from the 116 mph that it is supposed to be able to stand.

  10. I wonder how this event will be calculated into the return on investment profile of wind power.
    Since it appears to be a complete loss, will it have a negative impact on the Energy Returned compared to the Energy Invested calculations?
    I have a sneaking suspicion that any energy contribution the tower made will be added in on the plus side of ‘green energy’ but the loss (cost) will somehow be excluded.

  11. What is the cost per kilowatt generated over a ten year span, considering you have to replace these every three years?

  12. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    The initial claim is that the bolts broke. Well, remind me to investigate, but internet search may prove fruitless. Fatigue is likely, but bolts above the fatigue limit should have been specified. Anyway, this is just another example of why windmills have been abandoned over and over for over three thousand years! They are good for immediate, localized needs, and for pumping water. Other than that, they are mostly a maintenance nightmare.

  13. A 50KW turbine is pretty small potatoes. The typical turbines on land are rated at a max of 1.5 MW, or 1500 KW. And they cost a whole lot more than half a million dollars. Not counting their grid hookup costs.

  14. Subsidy farm issues aside, wind turbine engineers are awesome and they have achieved incredible results. When the wind turbines finally shuffle away, we will still have the mighty engineers.

    The thing is, none of these turbine designs has ever been properly crash-tested. I believe the endurance data they quote are obtained from scale models, and are really not data as such. What we see here is a test of a scale model.

  15. Anyone know the depth of concrete required per 10metre height of turbine?

    I read somewhere that it was laid to a depth half the height of the turbine, but how true that was I don’t know.
    tonyb

  16. I know I shouldn’t laugh at others misfortune, but damn, it’s hard not to when these things get blown over!

    The way it has gone at the base and the quote from the Council Chairwoman makes it seem like a failure on the mounting. A very, very poor show from the installation company.

  17. Note the “cut-out wind speed” [the wind speed at which the protective device fitted to a wind turbine is activated to prevent mechanical damage to the machine] is given as 25 m/s (56 mph). That is higher than this structure’s oops! speed. The photo shows a circular base through which the concrete-anchored rods fit. It seems undamaged! Perhaps they just stood it up and failed to put any nuts on the threads. Okay, not. But there’s a big ‘fail’ waiting to be revealed.

  18. Abiogenesis says:
    ” This is not an isolated case, another wind turbine was destroyed near Bishop Auckland the same night.”

    In this case the blades had gone – much more of a design failure and potentially much more dangerous. Heaven only knows when a broken blades from one of these is going to kill someone, but with the thousands and thousands going up, it is only a matter of time. What kind of liability insurance are they required to take out? Anyone know if they have any at all?

  19. This could be a design flaw resulting from either the specification of substandard grade bolts or the use of bolts that were too small for the applied load. However, a more likely explanation is that the bolts were defective… counterfeit bolts of very poor quality are coming from China these days. It’s very difficult to visually see the difference between such conterfeits and the high quality bolts they mimic.

  20. Only $350,000 for a wind turbine that cannot make enough electricity to run a farm, have the visual aesthetics of junkyard, and fail at that. such a deal.

  21. Anthony:

    You say

    Given its, ahem, endurance, one wonders if the council will allow it to be reconstructed. I’m thinking no.

    The Council may not be able to prevent its replacement or reconstruction.

    The Planning Rules have been “simplified” to remove “red tape” and so to facilitate installation of wind turbines. In practice this means that local objections to wind turbines can be – and often are – overturned by government dictate.

    Planning approval and Consent was given for the failed turbine. Hence, government could dictate that the existing Consent applies to a replacement of the turbine by a similar turbine in the same place.

    Richard

  22. To be accurate, it looks like these “wind turbine” structures will have to be renamed “breeze turbines”.

  23. I wonder how, make that if, accountants are going to include complete failures (ie- 95+% of the the asset in now scrap) like this example into levelized cost data? I can imagine a new cost allocation in the future: wind farm decommissioning (maybe ever with a couple of subcategories planned vs. unplanned) kind of like the fees associated with nuclear decommissioning on my electrical utility bill.

    The UK labor department may be able to take advantage of this mishap (in less then sustainable design and/or implementation) and account for the new jobs (green as in money anyway) that will be been generated from this failure. I assume all the stakeholders are going to hire (or redirect their staff attorneys) to spend a few hours/days/weeks to start looking over the contracts, and soon to be failure investigation reports, to see who absorbs the costs associated with the loss of the asset. I have filed the picture and article under: Sustainable NOT.

  24. I’ve always been surprised they don’t use a guide/guy wire at least part way up the structure to alleviate stress on the bolts. I guess being a blender hazard to birds is better than a trip hazard to us. Could even be a worse hazard to maintenance vehicles.

  25. “The bolts on the base could not withstand the wind”

    For the Greenies to understand it, the statement must be changed to;

    “The bolts were not sustainable”.

  26. Increased CO2 causing “climate disruption” will be blamed for the “unusually” high winds (and the uncurious press and gullible public will accept this without making any effort to get or understand the relevant data).

  27. Not the first time: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2083149/Wind-turbines-cope-UK-weather-3-blown-pieces.html

    Meanwhile: http://www.windbyte.co.uk/safety.html (nice photos of destroyed turbines)

    “In the last five years there have been some 1,500 reported accidents/‘incidents’ in the UK resulting in 4 deaths and a further 300 injuries to workers. Many accidents are not reported and examples of industry cover-ups abound.”

    I have been unable to get a solid answer to the question of who pays when a wind turbine is decommissioned (trans: rusts, explodes, falls over…). Wind companies are going bankrupt at a rate of knots, and ‘decommissioning bonds’ – well, you can trust them to pay up after 20 years, can’t you?

    Semtex, anyone?

  28. It looks like the j-bolts stayed behind (as they should have), and the threads (or more likely the nuts) failed. Probably to save $50 on nuts. I hope the contractor has a big, fat bond.

  29. “The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) has agreed to scale down its calculation for the amount of harmful carbon dioxide emission that can be eliminated by using wind turbines to generate electricity instead of burning fossil fuels such as coal or gas.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/3867232/Promoters-overstated-the-environmental-benefit-of-wind-farms.html

    “A wind farm industry source admitted: “It’s not ideal for us. It’s the result of pressure by the anti-wind farm lobby.””

    Yes…truth and facts can be such a drag!

  30. Now hang on a minute. Didn’t the Titanic have sub standard (slag corrupted) rivets just over 100 years ago. I wonder whether this will sink the entire programme.

  31. North of 43 and south of 44,

    See by designing the tower anchor bolts to shear off before the turbine was subjected to max survival wind speed they prevented the turbine from self destructing and throwing pieces of it’s blades into nearby homes. :)

  32. The insurance companies would call this an act of God – so now we know where His sympathies lie!

  33. BLACK PEARL says:
    January 30, 2013 at 8:31 am
    Imagine the cost of decommissioning the ones out at sea.
    ————————————————————————–

    With the contracts going to the companies that erected them, no doubt.

    Post-modern digging and filling ditches ?

  34. @cuibono,

    No money is set aside anywhere for decomission costs. And considering the sheer amount of concrete these things are “anchored” to combined with the weight guarentees that we the taxpayer will be saddled with these costs in 10-15 years and the costs will just go up as more are required to be removed.

    Now wind is one of my pet peeves, mostly because connected to the modern power grid it is inherently useless at any level. The power grid literally demands back-up generation for wind power since you can not count on this generation and at any time the wind generated electricity can fall close to zero meaning that for every wind turbine you build, you are also required to build back-up Natural Gas fired power plants.

    This is my issue: Why build two power plants when one would suffice? How much money do we just throw away building wind turbines that basically in the end wind up using more Natural Gas then one high efficiency natural gas power plant would ? (this is because the inefficient quick fire natural gas power plants required to back-up wind turbines are so inefficient that even when combined with wind power wind up using more natural gas then just the one natural gas power plant would).

    So in the end, Wind turbines wind up using more natural gas, more resources, more money and give us not one benefit. They are supposed to reduce CO2 emissions, and they don’t even wind up doing that connected to our modern power grids.

    And to have things such as decomissioning costs not factored in and the costs of the things just falling over from faulty installation (or parts) and you got a great recipe for wastage. They say that our Government is the greatest at wasting money on sub-par contractors, and heck wind is just taking a slice of the pie that the military took for years if you ask me.

    I guess I get on my soapbox because people think these things are great and think they will stop “the end of the world from happening” and in the end all it does is make some rich people just a little bit richer at the expense of the rest of us people who pay the taxes. I guess some people just never heard of hydro-electric or nuclear power that emits no CO2 and actually works with a modern power grid, but I digress…

  35. £250,000 for something that can – at best – produce enough electricity to power five or six domestic electric showers. Ye Gods.

  36. On behalf of the contractor: the bolts could be fine – the feathering mechanism could be kaput. We’ll need to await the independent inquiries conducted by Lord Oxburgh and Geoffrey Boulton, Esq. to obfuscate the matter completely.

  37. Greens are foolishly funny, strange when they individually are such humourless twerps.
    The cost of nuclear is pumped to the stratosphere by demanding decommissioning costs be included, yet wind seems to have no such proviso , on the big island Hawaii there are two wind farms, on one the subsidy has expired.
    Some ducks die in a Ft McMurray tailing pond, and a flame war ensues, endangered raptors are being diced world wide and the same people turn a blind eye.
    The focus on feel good nonfunctioning solutions, indicates even the greens know there is no problem.
    But do not worry the windmill owners will “prove” that local terrorists caused the fall of their flawless creation.
    The local witches did it.

  38. The Caithness Windfarm Information Forum campaigns against windfarms and compiles accident statistics. It is run by a group of people concerned about the proliferation of wind farms in Scotland.

    http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/index.htm

    Their accident statistics come from around the world and show that since the 1970′s there have been at least 1328 accidents involving wind farms, including blade failure, structural failure, ice throw and environmental damage such as the deaths of birds and bats. There are also a growing number of accidents in which people have been injured and killed.

    For instance, in May 2012 a British diver died during maintenance work at an offshore German wind farm operated by Alpha Ventus. It was the third fatality at German offshore wind farms in two years.

    Also in May 2012 a Highland Council turned off turbines at 16 schools due to safety concerns. Safety was reviewed following public concerns and a number of incidents with similar turbines, including the collapse of a turbine in 2009.

    http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/fullaccidents.pdf

    http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/page4.htm

    RenewableUK, the industry trade body, has admitted that 1,500 accidents and other incidents took place on wind farms between 2006 and 2011. These included four deaths and a further 300 injuries to workers.

    “The Health and Safety Executive said last week it was “extremely difficult” to assemble a “complete picture of reported incidents at wind farms” because accidents are not recorded by industry type. Its figures showed three fatal accidents between 2007/08 and 2009/10 and a total of 53 major or dangerous incidents in the same time frame.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8948363/1500-accidents-and-incidents-on-UK-wind-farms.html

  39. .
    Hmm. If, because of these failures, wind farms become liable to aircraft checks, testing and documentation, this will double or treble the cost of these rusting hulks.

    For instance, an aircraft door costs about €500,000. Add those sort of prices to a turbine, and you are going out of business quite quickly. (No tears being shed here.)

  40. …And how many times must a turbine go kaboom
    Before we can call the idea lame?

    The answer, my friends, is blowin’ in the wind;
    The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

    (Apologies to Peter, Paul and Mary.)

  41. Or they did not used the spec’ed washers. A common cause of catastrophic engineering failure, often poorly understood by the tradesmen.

  42. Take a look at the pictures of south Florida after Hurricane Andrew went through and ask yourself how many solar panels and wind turbines will be left the next time that happens. They will have to be completely replaced because they will be completely destroyed. The only damage by Andrew to conventional power generation was damage to one smokestack at one power plant.

  43. I’m glad we are getting more and more photos of these failures. Wyoming is supposed to be the “wind capital” of the US. No one seems to understand a 40mph Average means 80 miles an hour winds some days, none on others. It’s very common to have high wind warnings here with 40 mph sustained winds and gusts over 75. The toll that takes on turbines has to be very high, not to mention the cutout speed. This is a case of “more’s law” not applying….

  44. Worst job on the planet this morning : erection engineer for this windmill company. If the bolts pulled out of concrete or simply failed,, regardless,, this will be a nightmare for the engineer and the company. Replacing anchoring bolts on all their machines may be very expensive, if it involves more than simply replacing them. Bolts are rated as to their ability to withstand stress. Substituting cheaper bolts or installing bolts that couldn’t handle the stress actually encountered (oops!) would be other possibilities .

  45. It seems to have grown by 4 storeys after falling down. According to the article; “The £250,000 tower, which stood as tall as a six storey building, was hit by gale force gusts of 50mph.”

  46. “Given its, ahem, endurance, one wonders if the council will allow it to be reconstructed. I’m thinking no.”

    YOU THINK???

    http://www.thisisnorthdevon.co.uk/35-metre-wind-turbine-collapses-Bradworthy/story-17994623-detail/story.html

    “Of greater concern is that Torridge District Council have recently approved the erection of a second turbine of the same size and manufacture at this location that would have been closer to the public road.”

    “A number of similar turbines have been approved and erected locally and the safety of these turbines must now be questioned, together with that of the much larger ones that have also been approved but not yet built”

    Don’t bet on it

  47. Latitude says:

    January 30, 2013 at 7:48 am
    /////////////////////////
    I wonder whether the figure includes the costs involved in supply, transport, siting, and wiring into the grid, or whether it is simply the ex wharehouse cost. £1/2million sounds rather cheap to me, and accordingly I suspect that it is nothing like the real cost.

  48. arthur4563 says:

    January 30, 2013 at 10:57 am
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Obviously, investigation is required to find out the reason for the collapse. But you are right that a review of all similarly secured windmills will need to be carried out and renewals carried out as required..

    I was involved with a ship that specialised in carrying heavy lift cargoes (up to about 850 tonnes). On her maiden voyage, one of the crane hooks failed. All the hooks on all the sister ships, as well as other ships using the same cranes/hook batch had to be replaced. All told, even not taking into account downtime, it was very expensive.

  49. benfrommo says:

    January 30, 2013 at 9:33 am
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////
    The UK countryside will in 10 years time be littered with rusty/decaying windmills. One only has to look at california to see what will happen.

    The energy companies will not have money to pay for decommissioning since if for no other reason they will be having to build a lot of conventional (or perhaps nuclear) power stations, and the economy has tanked and there will not be a significant recovery for more than a decade.

    There is no spare tax payer cash for decommissioning and once the subsidies are scaled back as they undoubtedly will be, and once the energy company has made its quick buck, it will simply abandon them to their fate.

  50. cui bono says:
    January 30, 2013 at 8:56 am
    /////////////////////////////////////
    Off shore maintenance will be a nightmare.

    The safety issues surrounding working in a windswept sea environment are far more substantial. There will be many more accidents, which eventually will lead to stringent H&S requirement which will mean that maintenance can only be conducted during prolonged periods of good weather. This will mean that faulty windmills will have long periods of downtime and there will be substantial standby charges pertaining to supply ships and workers standing idly by waiting for breaks in the weather.

    The government has very much underestimated the wear and tear of extreme sea environments and the difficulties and expense in servicing and maintenance. Unfortunately, it will be the tax payer and consumer that will have to pay the price for all this madness and government incompetence.

  51. The Endurance E-3120 wind turbine is American/Canadian. It was designed years ago as a cheap wind turbine, of downwind design so it didn’t need motors to keep it facing into the wind, It was meant to be built in remote locations, because less maintenance would be needed and because the downwind design is inherently very noisy. It is now being widely deployed on farms in the UK because of its cheapness. When you buy a cheap outdated design, you expect failures. When you have cowboy developers involved in the process, you get what you pay for.

  52. Richard Verney; One of these turbines costs about £270k in the UK including planning permission. Without massive subsidies that initial cost would never be repaid.

  53. For a building structure in open countryside the design wind speed should be approx 110 miles per hour. If we take into account that this is a cylindrycal tower I consider it should be designed for a wind speed in excess of 150 mph if not more. I am trying to keep this simple so just remember the wind speed converts directly to force.

    For the ulltimate limit state of collapse a rough factor of safety would be three.

    Thus the tower should be designed for a wind speed of 450 mph, remember wind speed converts to force.

    On the table above it says the survival wind force is 115mph, so lets assume they have a factor of safety of three on this. So the tower at the ultimate limit state could stand a wind force of 345 mph and would therefore fail if my figures are correct?

    Now if the wind speed was 50 mph and Factor of Safety is three the ultimate limit state for collapse would be a wind force of 150mph.

    Thus the tower has been underdesigned by 300%. Assuming the collapse is not down to extremely bad workmanship.

    The moral of this story is that wind turbines are not just a danger to birds and bats but also to humans.

    Apologies for not converting wind speed to forces but its easily done :-)

  54. Sorry I should have added that if the Health and Safety Executive are not running around like headless chickens over this I want to know now? (Pun Intended :-) )

  55. Stonyground says:
    I remember reading a book called ‘Windpower Workshop’ by a guy who made a living building wind generators for dwellings that were so remote that it was not economically viable to connect them to the grid. His turbines were made from very basic materials, the generator itself was made from the hub and brake drum of a truck. The thing about the book was that it was very realistic and pragmatic about the practicalities of wind power. In a remote place, gas, oil or solid fuel can be used for heating and cooking, the wind turbine provides lighting, runs the fridge and freezer, the computer and the TV. For the benefit of anyone who was connected to the grid but thought that a turbine would save them money, it was emphasised in the book that the bank of batteries needed to store the power would have a finite life and the cost of replacing them every five years or so would outweigh any savings in your electricity bill.

    The lesson that I gained from reading the book was that windpower can be useful in very specific circumstances. Outside those specific circumstances, it is a total waste of time.

  56. { Chris Beal says:
    January 30, 2013 at 7:51 am
    “The bolts on the base could not withstand the wind ”
    It seems they used cheap China steel bolts made from cars after the cash for clunkers program in the usa? }

    Excellent. A part of my old ’81 Jeep Cherokee festoons the UK landscape. Exceptional. My wife said it looked like hell in the driveway. No need for thanks to us Yanks.

  57. { Phillip Bratby says:
    January 30, 2013 at 11:34 am
    The Endurance E-3120 wind turbine is American/Canadian……… When you buy a cheap outdated design, you expect failures. When you have cowboy developers involved in the process, you get what you pay for. }

    Just about time you paid us back for financing WWII.
    Thanks.

  58. There is a write-up on my web page http://whynotwind.org/Thea.htm
    This is the experience of one person living off-grid in a remote, very cold very windy area. It is not necessarily representative of all wind set-ups. Her neighbor had a small wind turbine fly apart in the wind a couple of years ago. Luckily, it was still under warranty. Burned out controllers on home setups are common in her area. Since this area is no where near the grid, wind, solar or generator are the only options for electricity.

  59. So, they have a lifespan of 25 years. Hah! I’ve been scratching my head trying to understand how they work out that the EROEI of onshore windfarms are as high as 15:1. Why does it take such a large subsidy to get them built, I wondered, if the EROEI is comparable with most fossil fuels.
    I think its because the people making these investment decisions, laugh up their sleeves at the 25 year figure, and assume something much lower. Not quite this low, however.

  60. John

    You are a relatively close neighbour, I am from south Devon

    The link was interesting but I am still unble to calculate the depth of concrete for every 10 metre height of turbine. Also does anyone know what it actually means when a wind co says, ” this installation will provide the power for 500 houses,”

    Does this mean, the heating, cooker, hot water, washing machine etc or does it relate primarily to the tv , lights and other low powered appliances?

    Tonyb

  61. Maybe they were trying out a new form of ‘carbon capture’?
    If it falls on your head they have caught a ‘carbon lifeform’.

  62. Five Year Warranty
    Endurance offers one of the best warranties in the wind industry, covering all defective components and labor for five years.

  63. So the profit just got turned up on that wind turbine. By chopping it up and selling it for parts/scraps!

  64. Since when is 50mph gust gale force ?? Must be different in the Northern Hemisphere. Down here 50mp is a relatively strong wind but hardly gale force.

  65. At least if a strong wind blows down a few telephone poles it doesn’t also take out the power plant.
    And that a wind turbine can’t handle the wind ….

  66. Caleb says:
    January 30, 2013 at 10:09 am
    …And how many times must a turbine go kaboom
    Before we can call the idea lame?

    The answer, my friends, is blowin’ in the wind;
    The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

    (Apologies to Peter, Paul and Mary.)

    ===========================================================
    I don’t know about answers but turbines sure blow!

  67. Little pigs, Little pits, let me in!
    Not by the hair of our chinny chin-chin! (must be unshaven academics).
    Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your ecopowerhouse down!

    I always thought advocates windpower were swine using strawman arguments.
    It does end up being a child’s fairy-tale.

    And they complain about the big bad oil-sponsored wolf-PAC.

  68. Tim Clark says:
    January 30, 2013 at 12:13 pm
    { Phillip Bratby says:
    January 30, 2013 at 11:34 am
    The Endurance E-3120 wind turbine is American/Canadian……… When you buy a cheap outdated design, you expect failures. When you have cowboy developers involved in the process, you get what you pay for. }

    Just about time you paid us back for financing WWII.
    Thanks.

    Actually we did finish paying off our wartime debts just 6 years ago.

    Britain to make its final payment on World War II loan from U.S. – Business – International Herald Tribune, December 28, 2006.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/28/business/worldbusiness/28iht-nazi.4042453.html?_r=0

    We finished repaying our debts to the Canadians at the same time but rather typically the International Herald Tribune ignored Canada. We certainly need the US loans at the time but nevertheless there has always been mixed feelings about them in Britain because it was in the US interest to support us and the US was probably the only country to emerge from World War II richer than it started. Britain, in contrast, emerged from the war effectively bankrupt.

    During the Napoleonic Wars Britain provided enormous sums of money to its allies and quite a lot of that was in the form of subsidies, not loans, because we knew it was in our interest to help them. The total British expenditure on the Napoleonic Wars was, in relative terms, greater than that in World War I and comparable to that in World War II.

    Getting back to the subject of the environment, the “war” against CAGW would, if the Greens get their way, be as expensive as that of the Napoleonic Wars and the two World Wars and would probably not be in the interests of any country.

  69. I’m sorry, but all I could do was laugh and laugh and laugh!
    And laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh!!
    Again!

  70. RossP 12:47pm:
    “Since when is 50mph gust gale force?”
    A moderate gale starts at 31mph on the Beaufort Scale. 50mph is a strong gale on the Beaufort. I imagine that the steady speed would be over 31 to gust at 50.

  71. RossP January 30, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    “Gale” is a defined term in the UK because it uses the Beaufort Wind Scale:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/marine/guide/beaufortscale.html

    “Gale” is Force 8 on the scale and starts at 39 mph or 17 m/s
    50 mph is “storm”, Force 10.
    The Scale was primarily founded on marine conditions. I suspect that gusts are likely to be less of a problem than on land (but others may know better …).

  72. Tonyb:
    The foundation pad is usually a disc of reinforced concrete less than 2m thick (a pancake). DECC produces figures for UK home consumption of electricity. It averages about 4.7MWh/year. The data are available for all LPAs, for several years, going back from 2010.

  73. 50 KW for 250,000 pounds? What a bargain! I found this in about 15 secs on Google

    http://www.affordablegenerator.com/50kW_60Hz_Cummins_Diesel_Generator_p/agc50.htm

    50 KW of continuous output for $13K. I made no attempt to find the cheapest one available just grabbed one from a familiar company from the top of the queue. You could buy 3 of them and have backed up continuous 50 KW of power and $300K to buy fuel for the next 25 yrs for just the purchase tab of this flopper.

  74. My luck is good today. I just watched a trash can blow over. Fortunately it fell off of the road and not in front of the oncoming school bus. Don’t know if that windmill would have made it.

  75. Time to set a bunch of metal thieves loose on these bird-choppers…..
    it’d be a wind-win situation…

  76. And that was a baby turbine. Here in Ontario Canada they are routinely erecting turbines from 300 to 500 feet high. (100 meters plus). This is easily checked by retrieving the latest wind turbine specifications — if you have doubts.

  77. Let’s not forget Anthony has first timers showing up to his blog.
    I deserve my abuse, but let’s welcome those that have yet to earn it.

  78. MattS,

    I see, that would be one or more PE with a revoked ticket in my book.

    Then silly me, I’d expect the thing to stand up.

  79. When I lived in Cornwall one night there were 120 MPH gusts in Falmouth! next day lots of trees down, sadly this was before the turbine epidemic, but there was one and it was just about the only thing not moving in the county!

  80. One factor i never see mentioned for wind turbines is the range of cyclic resonances created by first, the wind swirling around the round tower, the induced turbulence of which is known to create cyclic resonances at certain wind speeds and relative to both the diameters of the tower and the actual materials used as well as the strength and thickness of the tower’s materials.
    Then there are the induced cyclic frequencies from the blades which are a direct result of blade design, pitch at the time and rotational velocities.
    As a number of these resonances may combine to reinforce one another at very specific wind speeds and blade rotational velocities there is a closed loop with rapidly rising intensity of resonances.
    Generally the wind speed varies so much in seconds that the effect is very limited and very quickly moves out of the critical band so no effect is seen immediately.
    However constant up and down cycling through this critical resonance band leads to fatigue accumulation in the structure until it finally fails in what seems to be quite mild conditions.
    If the foundations are built into some hard rock then it is likely that the resonance band changes all over again as the foundations will also be involved in the the whole structure’s critical resonating and cyclic frequency fatigue band.

    All of this is well known in the aviation industry in particular

    I have heard of some kilometres of concrete Power poles, newly erected but with no wire strung on them just failing en-masse due to strong winds that induced the pole’s natural cyclic resonances, which undamped by the wire, fatigued the concrete poles overnight. When the crews arrived to string the poles they found the lot as just shattered lumps of concrete from the overnight winds.

    Piston engines of every type have this particular resonance problem which will lead to the rapid destruction of the engine but engines generally are designed to operate outside of the critical resonance range so the public are unaware of the problem.
    Some piston aircraft engines operate each side of this critical resonance RPM range and you simple don’t operate those engines inside of that narrow critical RPM range .

  81. In my previous comment @8:43 am the wind farm is near Ellensburg, WA in rural Kittitas county, here are Lat./Long.:
    47.011926, -120.200232

    Regarding concrete for wind towers, I suspect there are different designs.
    On a tour of the one above we were told (I think) that the 28 foot steel rods were in concrete that deep except for the foot or so needed to go through the tower’s base. The area is on a rock ridge with no soil depth. In the photos below (not my local site) it appears they wanted a not-so-deep broader base rather than a taller deeper can-shaped plug.

    here is one:

    http://www.blitztransport.com/GALLERY22.html

    Another image of putting nuts on rods:

    Another set of photos:

    http://www.blm.gov/extras/windslides/index.html

    —————————-
    RHS says:
    January 30, 2013 at 8:51 am
    “I’ve always been surprised they don’t use a guide/guy wire at least part way up

    First, wires could not go up very far because the top turns and the blades have to pass through the space.
    Second, for the ones I mentioned, the inside ladder to the top and instruments are all attached to the tower by magnets because the design does not allow for holes/bolts and such. Those with metal implants (pacers or ICDs) are not allowed to go inside the tower.

  82. Installed by renewable energy company Dulas it was supposed to have a life expectancy of 25 years.

    Somewhere, somehow another of their wind turbines will have to run for 47 years to maintain the average lifetime.

  83. 50 kw installed for£250,000. Taking the capacity factor(kindly) at 1/3 that represents more than 20 times the capital cost per kw- hour generated of a combined cycle gas turbine. And as this article shows, a far higher maintenance cost and a much shorter operational life. I know it’s been said ad nauseam, but these beasts run on subsidies, which drives energy costs up for everyone, and drives industry away to China. What folly!

  84. The real point here is the confirmation of extreme weather caused by AGW, without which the wind tower would have had a long and productive life. ;-)

    Back in 1965, at the UK’s Central Electricity Generating Board’s HQ, I got a report on my desk that cooling towers at the you-beaut super-duper Selby power station had been wind-tunnel tested to withstand 200 mph (320 kph) gales. That night, three fell down in much more modest winds, with three deaths. It turned out that the tests had been done with a model of a single tower, no consideration had been given to the intensifying effect of a cluster of towers, something which everyone in high-rise cities experiences often. Had the wind-millers done due diligence?

  85. Something is realy wrong here.
    The force due to wind is proportional to the square of the velocity.
    If you take the ratio of 116/50 squared, you will realize that the failure occurred at less than 1/5 the force it was supposed to be designed to handle.
    I’m sure if one had an opportunity to look closely at the failure there would be strong leads as to where the failure initiated.
    For the failure to occur at such a large factor below the design there must be something unconventional such as a low temperatures caused a brittle failure, because the welds or the steel was not suitable for the low temperatures. This was actually a factor in the sinking of the Titanic. Of course there are other possible reasons but it is hard to believe that something basic was undersized by a factor greater than 5.

  86. More seriously; other than a design flaw (which is quite plausible given the gross ignorance about the structural loading; especially dynamic), it is possible that the wrong nuts or steel for the bolts was used. Or that they were incorrectly tightened. Corrosion should not be a factor, but cannot be ruled out unless checked. The “bolts” in such structures are usually the threaded ends of the steel reinforcing cages of the concrete footings. Concrete is usually required unless one has a rock of sufficient strength in which case holes are drilled and the bolts epoxied into place.

    The windmill in this case is a small one. The photos don’t show extreme undulations so the wind velocity profile is pretty flat above 10 metres height. (Ever wondered why there are few tall trees in the plains?)

  87. benfrommo says:
    January 30, 2013 at 9:33 am

    No money is set aside anywhere for decomission costs. And considering the sheer amount of concrete these things are “anchored” to combined with the weight guarentees that we the taxpayer will be saddled with these costs in 10-15 years and the costs will just go up as more are required to be removed.

    Now wind is one of my pet peeves, mostly because connected to the modern power grid it is inherently useless at any level. The power grid literally demands back-up generation for wind power since you can not count on this generation and at any time the wind generated electricity can fall close to zero meaning that for every wind turbine you build, you are also required to build back-up Natural Gas fired power plants.

    From
    FORM 10-K Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011. MIDAMERICAN ENERGY HOLDINGS COMPANY 94-2213782 (An Iowa Corporation) Des Moines, Iowa 50309

    Note: MEHC owns two electric utilities heavily invested in wind energy, Pacificorp, and Mid-American Energy.

    Page 16 of 310 of Form 10-K

    When factors for one energy source are less favorable, PacifiCorp must place more reliance on other energy sources. For example, PacifiCorp can generate more electricity using its low cost hydroelectric and wind-powered generating facilities when factors associated with these facilities are favorable. When factors associated with hydroelectric and wind resources are less favorable, PacifiCorp increases its reliance on coal- and natural gas-fueled generation or purchased electricity. In addition to meeting its customers’ energy needs, PacifiCorp is required to maintain operating reserves on its system to mitigate unplanned outages or other disruption in supply, and to meet intra-hour changes in load and resource balance. This operating reserve requirement is dispersed across PacifiCorp’s generation portfolio on a least-cost basis based on the operating characteristics of the portfolio. Operating reserves may be held on hydroelectric, coal-fueled or natural gas-fueled resources.

    Page 28 of 310

    The percentage of MidAmerican Energy’s energy supplied by energy source varies from year to year and is subject to numerous operational and economic factors such as planned and unplanned outages; fuel commodity prices; fuel transportation costs; weather; environmental considerations; transmission constraints; and wholesale market prices of electricity. When factors for one energy source are less favorable, MidAmerican Energy must place more reliance on other energy sources. For example, MidAmerican Energy can generate more electricity using its low cost wind-powered generating facilities when factors associated with these facilities are favorable. When factors associated with wind resources are less favorable, MidAmerican Energy must increase its reliance on more expensive generation or purchased electricity.

    Thus there is no specific power plant constructed as a backup for any other. There is no specific power plant turned up or down as wind energy or power demand varies, the entire system is modulated according to efficiencies and availability. Therefore you cannot assign the costs of a natural gas plant idling to wind energy backup.

    Elsewhere in in the same Form 10-K mentioned above, there are reserves listed for decommissioning facilities, though no detail assigning those reserves to specific facilities. On what basis do you assert there is no such set aside for wind energy facilities?

  88. Bernd Felsche says:
    January 30, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    The “bolts” in such structures are usually the threaded ends of the steel reinforcing cages of the concrete footings.

    My experience is different though with smaller structures: stoplights, power poles, other equipment. The bolts are usually galvanized steel, sometimes stainless, with a hook on the end in the concrete. The bolts are specifically inside of the hoop steel that forms the outside horizontal parts of the reinforcing steel cage.

  89. The engineers will figure it out, looks like a failure at the base.
    They live for this kind of stuff, failure stress cracks in metal.
    Harmonics, did it lose a blade and shake apart, gear box lubrication failure, etc.

  90. John F. Hultquist said (January 30, 2013 at 8:37 am)

    “…Note the “cut-out wind speed” [the wind speed at which the protective device fitted to a wind turbine is activated to prevent mechanical damage to the machine] is given as 25 m/s (56 mph). That is higher than this structure’s oops! speed…”

    I noticed the same thing. It all depends on what the “cut-out” was designed to do – free-wheel, protecting the generator from excess speed, or put on a brake and feather the props.

    Either way, I think they’ll find a fault with the “cut-out” device, and force an inspection of all the others in service.

  91. https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2013/01/30/wind-turbine-comes-down-in-bradworthy-as-high-winds-strike-north-devon/

    From the link, “Bob Barfoot, North Devon chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and an expert on turbines, said photographs showed the tower had been turned into a “mangled, blackened wreck” with melted blades.”
    Note that Mr. Barfoot opposes windmills in general and appears to be an activist.
    Also, “In a statement, Dulas chief executive officer Sanjay Bowry said: “[...]We will continue to keep communication open and provide updates as and when we have more information.” ”

    http://www.ecobuild.co.uk/var/uploads/exhibitor/127/9w4aoys9v3.pdf

    Couple of extra photos here, and it doesn’t look like the base ring broke.

    http://www.thisisnorthdevon.co.uk/story-17994623-detail/story.html

    This may explain why the farmers are allowing the turbines:

    http://www.cmsuk-services.co.uk/news/wind_turbine_devon.html

    It says the dairy farmers expect £50k per year from the turbine.
    It does seem the farm pays for the installation:

    http://www.endurancewindpower.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/East-Ash-Farm-British-Dairying-March-20111.pdf

    Lots of government “guaranteed” feed-in-tariff.

  92. To borrow from the Clarke/Dawes sketch:
    50MPH winds, what are the chances of that?
    High winds on land? one in a million.

  93. As to rebuilding this windmill, that seems assured. Who will reimburse the investor(s) if Endurance is not allowed to make good on their warrantee? It will be rebuilt, even if the farmers had grown disgruntled. They probably know they still need at least five more years of operation to pay it off and start actually making (some of) the expected return.

  94. Chris Beal says:
    January 30, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Hardened bolts would of never broke.

    I think you mean High Tensile bolts.

  95. Under “fast facts”:
    The construction of each tower’s foundation required 120 anchor bolts, 30,954 nuts, and 11,750 cubic yards of concrete.
    Each anchor bolt is 28 feet long and weighs approximately 150 lbs.

    Interesting. That works out to just about 30,000 tons of concrete.

    From this government site this is how much CO2 is produced per ton of concrete.

    http://www.buildinggreen.com/features/flyash/appendixa.cfm

    1.25 x 30,000 = 37,500 tons of CO2

    The turbine is a 50 kW turbine that according to its specs generates between 100,000-250,000 kw/hr year so that is 2.5-6 million kilowatt hours hours over its lifetime….

    The CO2 output for a coal fired plant is an average of 909 grams/kw/hr so the carbon offset is…
    Source

    http://www.stewartmarion.com/carbon-footprint/html/carbon-footprint-kilowatt-hour.html

    909 grams x 2.5-6 million/kw/hr is 2,272-5,454 tons for an equivalent power generated.

    I would bet that the foundation is for a much bigger turbine but even if it was a 500 kw turbine that is 22,720-54,540 tons which is barely enough to offset the CO2 emissions of the foundation!

    From the same source a natural gas fired plant has half the CO2 emissions of a coal fired plant so you would need a megawatt class turbine in a good site (and I assumed that the turbine would run fault free for 25 years when the operating fraction is less due to maintenance and downtime, probably about 5% at best less.

    Now take a look at a nuclear plant.

    SIX GRAMS OF CO2 PER KW/HR

    I would bet quite a lot of money that if you did an end to end analysis wind and solar are close to break even over coal, or at best gas CO2 wise and they suck compared to a nuclear power plant (suck is a technical term here).

    What the hell are the greens thinking?

  96. @Chris Beal January 30, 2013 at 7:51 am

    It seems they used cheap China steel bolts made from cars after the cash for clunkers program in the usa? Hardened bolts would of never broke and seems someone made the wrong choice.

    Not true at all, about hardened bolts. If the design didn’t call for enough bolts, those used could still fail. For example, ONE hardened bolt would certainly not be enough.

    At the same time, no structural design out in the wind in the USA is designed for less than about 120 mph winds (whatever the max expected wind at the site), with plenty of safety factor (normally 2.5 or 3.0). For a 50 mph wind to take down a structure is a TERRIBLE and irresponsible design, bordering on incompetence. Actually well WITHIN the range of incompetence. That means it was designed for only about 17-20 mph – counting the safety factor. WTF?

    Steve Garcia

  97. Well the load on the bolts would increase at least as the square of the wind speed, so 116 mph / 50 mph squared is over five times the load these bolts were supposed to be able to withstand.
    I’m guessing it was a fatigue failure caused by the built in shake yourself to pieces oscillation.

    At 42 rpm, and three blades, the gizmo has a built in 126 cycle per minute oscillation due to wind shear.

    Wind speed at the top of the mast is higher than at deck height; every sailor knows that. so a blade at the top has a higher axial and tangential thrust than when it is at the bottom in lower wind. If it was a linear relationship, the three phase 42 cpm driving force would even out, but since it is at least a squared relationship, they do not cancel out either axial thrust or rotary torque, so those bolts get hammered with a 126 cpm jack hammer, till they simply crap out.

    Ever notice that the old farm windmill pump had about 20 or so blades, and the diameter is small compared to the tower height; no wonder they run for a hundred years.

  98. Faustino says:
    January 30, 2013 at 5:52 pm
    The real point here is the confirmation of extreme weather caused by AGW, without which the wind tower would have had a long and productive life. ;-)

    Back in 1965, at the UK’s Central Electricity Generating Board’s HQ, I got a report on my desk that cooling towers at the you-beaut super-duper Selby power station had been wind-tunnel tested to withstand 200 mph (320 kph) gales. That night, three fell down in much more modest winds, with three deaths.

    I remember the collapse of those towers. However you cannot expect the Greens to take any notice of anything that happened in 1965. That was before most of them were born and anything outside their experience they regard as irrelevant.

  99. The wind turbines in the UK are all designed to fail during a hurricane, and we do occasionally get hurricanes here.
    It’s a scam.

  100. “Dennis Ray Wingo says:

    January 30, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    What the hell are the greens thinking?”

    It’s interesting the supporters of renewables don’t take into account the facts you raise. Clearly, the Greens are thinking of just that, The Green. Farmers, land owners and the British Royal Family too.

  101. Tonyb says:
    January 30, 2013 at 12:25 pm (replying to)

    John

    You are a relatively close neighbour, I am from south Devon

    The link was interesting but I am still unble to calculate the depth of concrete for every 10 metre height of turbine. Also does anyone know what it actually means when a wind co says, ” this installation will provide the power for 500 houses,”

    Does this mean, the heating, cooker, hot water, washing machine etc or does it relate primarily to the tv , lights and other low powered appliances?

    Tonyb

    usually, that type of “can power up to 500 homes” is a pure “propaganda-laden” sales exaggeration. Means nothing in the real world except to politicians and their enviro-theists trying to “sell” the “green energy” tricks.

    The “homes energized” takes the nameplate rating (the absolute maximum possible from a new, perfectly clean turbine in perfect winds (no gusts, steady direction, no interference from nearby turbines or towers or hills). Then “homes energized” takes some nominal values for “energy used by a average house” in some assumed given time period. Nameplate rating is then simply dividing “maximum theoretical energy possibly delivered (under perfect conditions)” by “energy used by an (conveniently assumed) “average house.” So, a green politician makes some “number of homes powered” exaggeration, and nobody ever checks to so see if that is an average home in the area, or a seasonal load, or a spring load when the AC is not running and the heat is not turned on.

    The nameplate rating, however, does noting but go down under use: blades get dirty or worn edges or torn fiberglass, bearing degrade, oils go sticky and controllers need work – Routine maintenance to replace this kind of wear-and-tear even on conventional gas turbines is ESSENTIAL every 18 months. Worse, the actual average service factor for wind turbines is less than 23%. Thus, actual “power delivered” hours are only achieved 23% of the time worldwide, even at reduced ratings. But the greenies never mention this. (Note that the power lines, transmission switchboards, and cables and roads and control networks MUST be sized not for the 23% capacity that is usually delivered, but for the 100% that “might be” delivered at any (unpredictable) time day, night or Sunday – regardless of actual electrical need. Therefore, the power lines are actually a little more than 4 times the size for the current they usually carry, because some times, they are actually carrying full load and must be large enough to prevent overheating. That follows true for everything electrical: the controllers, and the transformers, and the switches and the towers and the circuitry are all 4 times larger than what average power is actually delivered really needs.)

    All contribute to the waste and loss of resources these failures represent.

    “Average house” could mean anything, and is rarely – if ever – actually defined, and NEVER, EVER “verified” by the propagandists writing the “green energy is the only solution to everything” story for the press.

  102. BLACK PEARL says:
    January 30, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Imagine the cost of decommissioning the ones out at sea.
    —————————————————————————————————–

    Don’t worry.

    A good, old-fashioned Atlantic winter storm will be suffice to dispose them off with a snap…

  103. Backs of envelopes are great for fact checking… I found a link supposedly relating to this:

    http://www.pse.com/inyourcommunity/kittitas/Pages/Wild-Horse.aspx

    Among the fast facts enumerated were :

    ‘The construction of each tower’s foundation required 120 anchor bolts, 30,954 nuts, and 11,750 cubic yards of concrete. Each anchor bolt is 28 feet long and weighs approximately 150 lbs.’

    That implies a nut every 33mm on each anchor bolt, and a block of concrete 22 metres on a side.

    Like, wow.

  104. Chris4692:

    You provide misleading propaganda in your long-winded reply (at January 30, 2013 at 6:49 pm) to benfrommo (at January 30, 2013 at 9:33 am).

    It is very misleading for your report to say

    When factors associated with hydroelectric and wind resources are less favorable, PacifiCorp increases its reliance on coal- and natural gas-fueled generation or purchased electricity.

    Put into plain English, that says,
    Coal and natural gas-fueled generation are throttled back to enable windpower onto the grid at the times when wind turbines provide power because the wind is strong enough but not too strong.
    That poses the question as to why the windpower – with its costs – exists and is used.

    And you say

    Thus there is no specific power plant constructed as a backup for any other.

    At less than 20% total capacity from windpower, the ‘back-up’ is provided by the existing “coal and natural gas-fueled generation” which when throttled back operate at reduced efficiency so increase their emissions.

    Furthermore, you ask benfrommo

    Elsewhere in in the same Form 10-K mentioned above, there are reserves listed for decommissioning facilities, though no detail assigning those reserves to specific facilities. On what basis do you assert there is no such set aside for wind energy facilities?

    Well, perhaps he asks because there is “no detail assigning those reserves to specific facilities”?

    Richard

  105. I can see one of these wind turdbines from my front room window. Identical. Praying for more wind.

    Ivor Ward

  106. Atlantic city NJ has 5 or 6 turbines running their sewage treatment plant for the city. Not sure how they did after hurricane Sandy hit the area with 100 mph winds.

    Is that when the s**t hit the fan?

  107. Boeing Dreamliners are all grounded due to battery problems.
    I suggest that the UK Health & Safety Executive declare all wind turbines be locked down until the cause of these two failures (Holsworthy and Bishop Aukland) have been thoroughly investigated – this exercise to be repeated every time there is a wind turbine failure…
    Lets see what effect THAT has on the willingness of landowners/developers to jump on what is basically a subsidy bandwagon…

  108. Alan Bates says:
    January 30, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    The Scale was primarily founded on marine conditions. I suspect that gusts are likely to be less of a problem than on land (but others may know better …).

    No, gusts are a problem at sea too. Steady wind fills your sails and drives you along, but too strong and you get tilted over so the sail spills the wind and you go slower – reduce sail area to go faster. Gusts may be a different direction to the main wind, and can shred your sails (actually a bit of a safety feature – the alternative is worse), or knock you down – hopefully you come back up – possibly a little shaken.

    Steady winds of 40 knots are not too bad in themselves, it’s just that they make all those speed humps appear in the sea.

  109. feet2thefire says:
    January 30, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    At the same time, no structural design out in the wind in the USA is designed for less than about 120 mph winds (whatever the max expected wind at the site), with plenty of safety factor (normally 2.5 or 3.0). For a 50 mph wind to take down a structure is a TERRIBLE and irresponsible design, bordering on incompetence.

    We don’t know it was a design problem. The structure at its base has nuts under as well as above the base plate. The entire structure rests on the bottom nuts, that is how it is leveled. If those nuts were not all tightened the same, a few over tightened nuts could have to support the structure. With the varying loads on those nuts, the threads would strip and cascade to the next. Though the overall design a was adequate, a faulty installation can cause the failure.

    There are not enough details. At this time, with the facts available, the most we can say is that we don’t know.

  110. BrianJay says:
    January 30, 2013 at 9:09 am
    Now hang on a minute. Didn’t the Titanic have sub standard (slag corrupted) rivets just over 100 years ago. I wonder whether this will sink the entire programme.
    =============
    The Titanic had an expansion gap mid-hull that ended at a sharp point. This lead to a stress fracture than cause the hull to break in two under the weight of water in the hull. This has been covered up in the official reports. The design flaw was later corrected in her sister ship without any announcement, to replace the sharp end with a circular cut out. This remains the standard engineering solution to prevent stress fractures radiating out from cuts in metal to this day.

  111. Engineering designs often overlook dynamic loads because of the complexity in calculations, and instead rely on static loads with a safety factor. At the correct wind speed is should be expected that a free standing tower will begin to oscillate at its natural frequency, which can eventually bring down the structure, no matter how strong the materials.

    Successful designs avoid the problem by making sure that the natural frequency of the structure lies outside that which can occur naturally. Ignore this rule and large buildings collapse during earthquakes and bridges collapse when troops march on them. Not because the structure is weak, but rather because of the loads imposed by harmonic oscillation.

  112. It should be noted that force goes up as the square of the wind speed. Basically the structure failed at 1/4 of its rated strength.

    A survival speed of 116 mph sound more like the survival speed with blades turning. A steel tower should be able to survive much higher wind speeds than this with the blades feathered. Trees do it all the time.

    Sailboats routinely survive much worse with freestanding masts so long as the sails are down and they can be subject to much higher dynamic loads due to wave action.

    • ferd berple says:

      > A steel tower should be able to survive much higher wind speeds than this with the blades feathered. Trees do it all the time.

      Trees do it by losing branches on the windward side due to structural instability. Their crown’s shape eventually matches the flow velocity profile in their immediate environment. An of course, the result is a much reduced interaction with the wind, which is contrary to the aim of a wind turbine.

      These pictures are not great, but they illustrate the idea:

      Foggy Roadside

      Shaped by the wind

  113. richardscourtney says:
    January 31, 2013 at 1:57 am

    You provide misleading propaganda in your long-winded reply (at January 30, 2013 at 6:49 pm) to benfrommo (at January 30, 2013 at 9:33 am).
    It is very misleading for your report to say

    Not my report. A legal filing by Mid-American Holdings with the SEC. It is consistent with what plant operators and engineers of Mid-American Energy plants have told me, but an SEC filing is more authoritative than Someguyinabar. I prefer documented supportable facts as much as possible. My reply was “long winded” only because I did you the courtesy of supplying the quotes rather than making you look them up.

    When factors associated with hydroelectric and wind resources are less favorable, PacifiCorp increases its reliance on coal- and natural gas-fueled generation or purchased electricity.

    Put into plain English, that says,
    Coal and natural gas-fueled generation are throttled back to enable windpower onto the grid at the times when wind turbines provide power because the wind is strong enough but not too strong.
    That poses the question as to why the windpower – with its costs – exists and is used.

    Get real. We know why Mid-American and Pacificorp are investing heavily in windpower. Wind power has benefits as well as costs. They are milking the $0.022 per kilowatt hour subsidy for all it’s worth and getting a 12% annual return in the process, without a fuel cost. You would find the return on investment to be used by the rate makers in the SEC filing, if you’d bother to look. By my very rough figuring the subsidy is more than the 12% return, so the ratepayers are getting part of the effect of the subsidy (my guess about half of the subsidy.) At the end of ten years the power company has a paid off asset producing electricity with no fuel costs.

    They also get green energy credits, which they need and which, in excess of their needs, is a commodity they can sell.

    And you say

    Thus there is no specific power plant constructed as a backup for any other.

    At less than 20% total capacity from windpower, the ‘back-up’ is provided by the existing “coal and natural gas-fueled generation” which when throttled back operate at reduced efficiency so increase their emissions.

    In counting their total capacity, Mid-American uses a figure for windpower that is closer to 10% of nameplate. They also say they keep at least 7% of capacity greater than projected needs. (those percentages are of different things, so they are not comparable.) The “back up” is a number of plants modulating from say 80% of capacity to 75%, not the modulating of a single plant from 100% capacity to idle. That is a big difference in the change of efficiency.

    The system has to be modulated for lots of reasons. Windpower is just one, but there is nothing unusual about reacting to its variability that isn’t already done for other reasons.

    Excess is needed in the system for more than just windpower. Coal plants have mechanical problems as well and need backup. Remember when many coal plants in Texas couldn’t operate because of cold weather? A coal plant can have to be run at 80 percent capacity for months because taking it out of service for the days needed to do the repairs is too big a disruption of the system. In your line of thinking, that makes coal worthless.

  114. Chris4692:

    I am surprised that you are so frank in your post at January 31, 2013 at 9:05 am.

    I had pointed out that windpower displaces conventional generating plant that have to part load when the wind is in the right range for windpower to operate. I then asked

    That poses the question as to why the windpower – with its costs – exists and is used.

    You have replied

    Get real. We know why Mid-American and Pacificorp are investing heavily in windpower. Wind power has benefits as well as costs. They are milking the $0.022 per kilowatt hour subsidy for all it’s worth and getting a 12% annual return in the process, without a fuel cost. You would find the return on investment to be used by the rate makers in the SEC filing, if you’d bother to look. By my very rough figuring the subsidy is more than the 12% return, so the ratepayers are getting part of the effect of the subsidy (my guess about half of the subsidy.) At the end of ten years the power company has a paid off asset producing electricity with no fuel costs.

    They also get green energy credits, which they need and which, in excess of their needs, is a commodity they can sell.

    OK. So you admit the windfarms are subsidy farms.
    As you say this makes sense for the power company, but it is a rip-off of the electricity consumers and of the tax-payers whose money provides the “$0.022 per kilowatt hour subsidy”.

    As you say, this rip-off is so great that the power company gets “a 12% annual return” and can still pay off the capital cost of a windfarm in “ten years”.
    Wow! And that scam is legal! In fact it is enabled by legal mandate!
    This emphasises my question as to why the windpower – with its costs – exists and is used. Or, to rephrase that, why the law decrees consumers and tax-payers should be ripped off by the subsidy farms.

    Your only excuse for this rip-off is a falsehood.
    Nobody gets “electricity with no fuel costs”. As I explained, the throttled-back conventional plant operate at reduced efficiency so INCREASE their fuel and emissions to provide space on the grid for the windpower. That is an increased fuel cost.

    Richard

  115. Cripes! A Windmill exploded, killed 11 people and spewed toxic liquid into the Gulf of Mexico for three months! These things are a menace!!

  116. richardscourtney says:
    January 31, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I am surprised that you are so frank in your post at January 31, 2013 at 9:05 am.

    You are surprised that someone wants to evaluate all technologies impartially with out putting a thumb on the scale one way or the other?

    There are advantages and disadvantages to windpower. The advantages that you do not want to acknowledge have to be counted as well as the disadvantages and the current regulatory environment. If the subsidy went away, there would still be windpower at some reduced level. The cost structure would adjust, site leases would not be as generous, the prices of construction would adjust down, the costs of equipment would reduce. At the moment, however, there is a subsidy. I would prefer there not be, but there is.

    To the extent that the subsidy exceeds the return on investment, rate payers will benefit. Electric rates are adjusted to maintain the ROI, so the excess does not necessarily go entirely to the benefit of the utility.

    Utilities have to have some reserve. Mid-American and Pacificorp maintain 7 percent excess. Which means that if the system is operating at 93 percent of capacity, it is in trouble. With the normal variations in demand, the facilities will never be operating at 100 percent of capacity. They will never have the luxury of operating the system at at capacity, they will always have to adjust, whether there is windpower or not. You want to put a thumb on the scale against windpower and attribute every inefficiency against it, when variability and adjusting to that variability are the nature of the business.

  117. What’s the problem?

    It says it has a cut off speed of 56 mph.

    The winds exceeded 56 mph and the automatic cutoff kicked in, i.e. it fell over. No fancy electronics to fail.

    /sarc

  118. ………the visual aesthetics of junkyard (Pat)

    Yeah, dozens and dozens of spinning junkyards, lifted to the horizon. For our viewing pleasure. Spinning turbine fields are mainly massive flag plants, a symbol of successful political expansion. Poor performance is secondary and will be overlooked.

    Don’t ever think that pro-agressives care one whit about feng shui; power is their game, and I don’t mean electrical power. Wind turbine fields are the Empire State Building of the growing collectivist expansion. The grotesque and shoddy, step by step, displace the elegant and functional.

  119. Chris4692:

    At January 31, 2013 at 12:11 pm you say to me

    You are surprised that someone wants to evaluate all technologies impartially with out putting a thumb on the scale one way or the other?

    There are advantages and disadvantages to windpower. The advantages that you do not want to acknowledge have to be counted as well as the disadvantages and the current regulatory environment.

    I am not at all surprised that anyone would want “to evaluate all technologies impartially with out putting a thumb on the scale one way or the other”. Indeed, I have done that. Please see Section 14 of an Annual Prestigious Lecture I had the honour of being asked to provide which can be read at

    http://www.mininginstitute.org.uk/papers/courtney.html

    In that lecture you will see that I also evaluate the “advantages and disadvantages to windpower”. Please note that I know of its advantages in small niche markets and I know its severe problems as a supplyer to an electricity grid. It is not that I “do not want to acknowledge” its advantages for supplying to an electricity grid: I cannot acknowledge what I have failed to find.

    I know of no advantages from using windpower as an input to an electricity grid. And I know it has severe disadvantages.

    You claim to know of advantages from using windpower as an input to an electricity grid. Please say what they are.

    I do not consider the rip-off that I condemned in previous post is an advantage.

    Richard

  120. If I recall correctly no tender from any British firm for mast construction could be accepted on the introduction of television in Ireland some 50+ years ago, as none were prepared to design to the maximum wind speed specified. The contract went to Norway, where such winds were accepted as a valid design requirement.

    • Peter O’Neill said this about the Brits failing to win a contract for a TV mast construction:

      > The contract went to Norway, where such winds were accepted as a valid design requirement.

      Strange, if true. Was this marvel also built by Norway?

      Cold war relic

      This design was supposed to withstand a nuclear blast in its vicinity (and it is also 50 to 60 years old). Not that it has ever been tested in a nuclear blast, but given how paranoid the customer was these days, would they not be serious enough about doing it right?

  121. Juice: Cripes! Green energy so raised the cost of fuel in cash-strapped Greece that it is reported the forests are being clear cut and the wood smoke is so bad that air quality is approaching that of London in the 1950s (i.e. TOXIC).

  122. ferd berple said, “A survival speed of 116 mph sound more like the survival speed with blades turning. A steel tower should be able to survive much higher wind speeds than this with the blades feathered. Trees do it all the time.”

    Close. The survival speed assumes that the blades are feathered. The control system changes the blade angle based on power requirements and wind speed. Above some speed the blades will be feathered — turned edge into the wind — to reduce the force acting on the blades and therefore on the structure. The maximum wind survival number depends on the control system working and the blades feathering.

    As for the bolts “failing” at the base of the tower … any structure like this will have a weakest link and if well designed that link will be the one that results in the least damage to the structure and the surrounding area. Having a blade fly off is bad because no one can predict where it will land and who it will kill. One blade off will also unbalance the turbine and cause the whole structure to fail in unpredictable ways. If the bolts are the weakest link, the structure will fall over and remain within an area that is clear of people and expensive stuff.

  123. Richard111 said, “Looks like the blade control lost it and the blades spun up until the the turbine caught fire.”

    I don’t see any evidence of fire in the linked pictures. There is some rust on one of the blades from the metal attach fixture. Other pictures show one or more tarps covering part of the wreckage. No charred remains.

  124. climatereason says:
    January 30, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Anyone know the depth of concrete required per 10metre height of turbine?

    I read somewhere that it was laid to a depth half the height of the turbine, but how true that was I don’t know.
    tonyb
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I can not tell you anything about wind turbines but I have planted several fence posts and built several pole buildings. (I build them because the commercial outfits do not plant the posts deep enough) The rule of thumb is one third of the pole goes into the ground. So for a 6 foot fence you plant 3 feet.That is for good soil conditions on flat ground so it is the minimum. If you put torque on the post, like adding a gate you need a second post for a brace.

    I think you are going to see more and more of these windmills come crashing down as they age and the metal weakens over time.

  125. @Bill Yarber
    ” My guess is the failure analysis will say the installation contractor used defective or below spec anchor bolts. The “specified” bolts would not have failed at 30% of maximum load.
    REPLY: Unless of course the bolts are supplied by the company. – Anthony ”

    Usually the way this happens is that the installer sub-contracts installations, which are then sub-contracted to simple labourers…

    ” Hey, Jack – you forgot to put the bag of bolts in the van – they’re left back at the factory!”
    ” Never mind – they were about 1″ wide – we can pick some up at the nearest garden fence store – save us a drive…”

  126. Brittle fracture of the steel plates and rivets was the failure mechanism of the Titanic. At low temperatures some steel are quite brittle and fail dramatically due to impact loads especially if there is a stress concentration present such as a hole or crack. Engineers today are aware of this and specify materials that retain ductility at lower temperatures if the structure is exposed to low temperatures. Since the wind turbine structure failed at loads 1/5 of the design loads, one becomes suspicious that factors such as brittle fracture are present. I’m not saying that brittle fracture was the cause here but it’s difficult to explain how a failure would occur at 1/5 th the design load. Remember that the load is proportional to the square of the wind Velocity.
    Below is a description of the Titanic material failure

    http://www.writing.eng.vt.edu/uer/bassett.html

    “The failure of the hull steel resulted from brittle fractures caused by the high sulphur content of the steel, the low temperature water on the night of the disaster, and the high impact loading of the collision with the iceberg. When the Titanic hit the iceberg, the hull plates split open and continued cracking as the water flooded the ship. Low water temperatures and high impact loading also caused the brittle failure of the rivets used to fasten the hull plates to the ship’s main structure.”
    “The first hint that brittle fracture of the hull steel contributed to the Titanic disaster came following the recovery of a piece of the hull steel from the Titanic wreck. After cleaning the piece of steel, the scientists noted the condition of the edges. Jagged and sharp, the edges of the piece of steel appeared almost shattered, like broken china. Also, the metal showed no evidence bending or deformation. Typical high-quality ship steel is more ductile and deforms rather than breaks [Gannon, 1995].
    Similar behavior was found in the damaged hull steel of the Titanic’s sister ship, Olympic, after a collision while leaving harbor on September 20, 1911. A 36-foot high opening was torn into the starboard side of the Olympic’s hull ….”

  127. Dennis Ray Wingo says:
    January 30, 2013 at 10:50 pm
    Your back of the envelope calculation is sligthly confusing as you used foundation data for a much bigger unit tha 50 kwh , so let’s recalculate a bit, the foundation data in the example is from an article that gives peak power ( nameplate ?) capacity of 273 Mw from 149 turbines ( taking up 10000 acres of land , what a waste , but that is side issue here ) or a little over 1.8 Mw average peak power per single turbine, so it is equivalent to somwhere around 400-450 Kw constant power equivalent , delivering ~4000 Mwh/yr or 4million KWh/year. Using your figure of 0.909 kg/Kwh Co2 savings gives 3636 tons/year so it will take a little over 10 years of problem free running to offset the Co2 generated while making the concrete used in the foundation. Now we should probaly also add to the Co2 bill the amount for 230 tons of steel used in the tower body plus maybe another 20 to 30 tons of same in the bolts and concrete reinforcing in the foundation , plus the 20-30 tons of composite materials in the propellers and the hubcasing and so on . I have no data over how much that would sum up to , but a first wild guess would be that it woulda add at least 2 – 3 years to the Co2 breakeven point. So it would first be after running for 12 – 13 years that an installation like this would have a chance to claim any Co2 savings. And if history is anything to go by, at that time it would most likely have detoriated to generating only about 65-70% of the energy it does when in it’s first year of life , it’s accumulated maintainance and running cost would probably have reached the same amount or more as the orginal installation price, and who knows maybe the subsidy period would be running out within a year of two. In other word it migth have become “unsustainable” , and the might preparing to pull the plug and walk away, leaving the cleaning up of his now usless junk to future generation ( the grandhildren of the green’s ).

    “What were the greens thinking” you ask. I sure do not know, but I suspect tha tey prefer not to think at all.

  128. Looking carefully at the pictures, it looks like the bolt holes are intact and not deformed around the base of the down tower. Sure looking like some kind of nut / bolt failure to me. Would be nice to have a picture of the pad / bolt ends…

  129. Björn and Dennis Ray Wingo:

    You attempt to assess CO2 mitigation from windturbines by calculating CO2 emission resulting from their construction. And you assume 0.909 kg/Kwh Co2 savings from use of windpower because windturbines do not emit CO2.

    With respect, your assumption is untrue.

    As I explained to Chris4692 in my post at January 31, 2013 at 1:57 am

    Coal and natural gas-fueled generation are throttled back to enable windpower onto the grid at the times when wind turbines provide power because the wind is strong enough but not too strong.

    And as I said to him in my post at January 31, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Nobody gets “electricity with no fuel costs”. As I explained, the throttled-back conventional plant operate at reduced efficiency so INCREASE their fuel and emissions to provide space on the grid for the windpower. That is an increased fuel cost.

    Those increased CO2 emissions from conventional plant are caused by the conventional plant needing to be throttled back to make space on the grid for the intermittent electricity from windfarms. In other words,
    those increased emissions of CO2 are caused by use of the windfarms.

    The first public statement admitting this from the power industry was provided by David Tolley (Head of Networks and Ancillary Services, Innogy (a subsidiary of the German energy consortium RWE). In a keynote address the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. in 2003 he said of windfarms in the UK,

    When [thermal] plant is de-loaded to balance the system, it results in a significant proportion of deloaded plant which operates relatively inefficiently. … Coal plant will be part-loaded such that the loss of a generating unit can swiftly be replaced by bringing other units on to full load. In addition to increased costs of holding reserve in this manner, it has been estimated that the entire benefit of reduced emissions from the renewables programme has been negated by the increased emissions from part-loaded plant under NETA.

    NETA is the New Electricity Trading Arrangements, the UK’s deregulated power market.
    ( ref. Tolley D, ‘NETA — The Consequence,’ keynote address, to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, January 15, 2003 )

    The use of windpower INCREASES CO2 emissions from power generation.

    Richard

  130. @Abiogenisis:

    An investigation into the collapse of the first turbine in Bradworthy, Devon, during a 50mph gale last weekend has revealed that bolts are missing from its base.

    Well that would sure explain the ‘pristine’ look to the base holes… (Assuming they really meant that the ‘nuts’ were missing as the ‘bolts’ are likely embedded in the pad..)

    If all it takes is one guy with a wrench to take one of these down “that’s gonna be a problem”.

    I think they need to start ‘weld / staking’ the nuts… then again, a bag of thermite is pretty easy to use too. I wonder if they gave any thought at all to how hard it would be to prevent sabotage on a widely distributed load of these things?

  131. Abiogenesis:

    Your post at February 1, 2013 at 4:37 am says

    Sabotage suspected at toppled wind turbine as second is brought down

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/9841848/Sabotage-suspected-at-toppled-wind-turbine-as-second-is-brought-down.html

    Hmmmm.
    The newspaper report of your link says

    Margaret Coles, the chairman of Bradworthy Parish Council, revealed that an examination of the turbine had found that a number of bolts were absent from its base.

    She said:
    “We know the bolts are gone but don’t know what caused it. It was a windy night – we do suffer lots of high winds but you would have thought the structure would cope with that.

    and

    A spokesman for Gaia-Wind said:
    “There has been an incident where a turbine tower has been damaged. No other injury or damage is involved and we are investigating the cause.”

    There is no mention of any report to the police.

    Clearly, the newspaper report has attributed a meaning to the word “gone” which may or may not be correct.

    I think we need to await more information before jumping to any conclusions.

    Richard

  132. “I think they need to start ‘weld / staking’ the nuts… then again, a bag of thermite is pretty easy to use too. I wonder if they gave any thought at all to how hard it would be to prevent sabotage on a widely distributed load of these things?”

    Indeed! I am wondering how long before Al Q’aieda figure out that this could be an easy route to causing infrastructure damage. But then, I suppose, if nobody dies, they wouldn’t call it terrorism.

  133. Vince–I have wondered about sabotage since these things started going in. From a practical point of view, they make a big target. However, since in reality knocking out an entire wind facility would have NO effect on power (remember, turbines all have backup power in the form of a fossil fuel plant for days with zero wind), I would expect most sabotage to be from persons who oppose the waste and environmental damage the turbines do. Al Q’aieda would have nothing to gain.

  134. [i]Of course, Ms. Gray calls a 50 mph wind a “high wind”[/i]

    Here, in Las Cruces, NM, we call that March.

    A nice day in March, at that.

  135. Well I’m one of those who don’t think much of wind tubines, except for a few niche situations.

    And I agree with those “environmentalists” who think they are an ugly eyesore; well any structure out in a wilderness area is an ugly eyesore, and that is about the limit of my agreement with “earth firsters”.

    But the thought that anyone would sabotage one of these wind turbines, for some end or other, is about on a par with those who break into research labs, and turn loose lab animals, without any idea of what havoc they may be wreaking. NO ! I don’t condone any mistreatment of animals.

    So these tower collapses in Britain seem to be more political collapses, than technological.

    Hopefully, most of us are more adult than that.

    But I have to say that #0.25M or it’s $ equivalent seems like a big waste of money. My small fuel efficient liquid rock burning automobile churns out more than double the KW output of that recent downed turbine tower. And I could buy myself a whole fleet of 20 or more of these autos, for what was spent on that turbine.

  136. “Wind Farms Could Become ‘Monuments Of A Failed Civilisation’, Top Environmentalist Claims”

    http://www.thegwpf.org/wind-farms-monuments-failed-civilisation-top-environmentalist-claims/

    “Prof Lovelock is protesting against a single turbine at Witherdon Wood, Broadwoodwidger. It is believed he lives or has a property 43 miles away near Barnstaple.”

    The veteran environmentalist added: “We need to take care that the spinning windmills do not become like the statues on Easter Island – monuments of a failed civilisation.”

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