Windsplode in Scotland – plus some turbines can't handle 50mph

I wonder what the incident frequency is for wind turbine fires versus say coal, hydro, or nuclear plants?

From STV Scotland:

Mr McMahon, who captured the spectacular fire in photos, added: “I didn’t hear any explosion or anything, but my wife shouted for me to come down and see the fire.

“There are around 13 or 15 wind turbines in the farm above Ardrossan. They were all off today because of the high winds, so something has obviously shorted out and gone on fire.

h/t to WUWT reader Gordon Daily

UPDATE: BBC reports in the south of Scotland the 50mph winds are knocking down turbines:


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Interstellar Bill

Can all of those damn bird-slicers do the same?
And then, please fall over and decompose rapidly.


Obviously global warming caused this fire, something both warmists or a skeptic could probably agree on. For the skeptic the windmill would probably not have been there except for global warming and for the warmists GW caused the high winds.

Peter Miller

An ideal photo to commemerate the current Durban jamboree.
The crashing and burning of climatology.


Some of those things are next to roads, didnt a smaller one blow up in a school?

But let a nuclear reactor facility develop a leak in a men’s room urinal or some other non-essential process and watch the enviros come out of the ground to protest the risk.


Gas plants occasionally have explosions during construction of the gas connection, but coal plants are a long since mature technology and don’t involve any explosive materials.
This wind turbine is an odd failure. The only reason I can think of why it would fail during a storm is from an overspeed condition overheating the transmission or overheating of the brake, but they say that the turbine was stopped to avoid this. And usually mechanical failures result in overspeed failures like the blades spinning out of control and flying to pieces. I guess it could be something like an unsecured electrical cable rubbing it’s insulation off because of the nacelle moving in the wind, but the backfeed protection should have prevented it from turning into a fire.


So this is the “wind energy” equivalent of the “China Syndrome” ?


Wind power. No wind, no good. Too much wind, no good. Need power? Hope for breezes.
On a positive note, they make a good cigar lighter.


In March 2011 the John Muir Trust, a UK wild land conservation group, put out a report “Analysis of UK wind Power Generation” which instead of the generalised data published by the wind power industry broke the performance of wind power down to the real actual power generation figures.
Executive Summary; Principal Findings.
The following five statements are common assertions made by both the wind
industry and Government representatives and agencies. This Report examines
those assertions.
1. “Wind turbines will generate on average 30% of their rated capacity over a year.”
2. “The wind is always blowing somewhere.”
3. “Periods of widespread low wind are infrequent.”
4. “The probability of very low wind output coinciding with peak electricity demand is slight.”
5. “Pumped storage hydro can fill the generation gap during prolonged low wind periods.”
This analysis uses publicly available data for a 26 month period between November
2008 and December 2010 and the facts in respect of the above assertions are:
1. Average output from wind was 27.18% of metered capacity in 2009, 21.14% in 2010, and 24.08% between November 2008 and December 2010 inclusive.
2. There were 124 separate occasions from November 2008 till December 2010 when total generation from the windfarms metered by National Grid was less than 20MW. (Average capacity over the period was in excess of 1600MW).
3. The average frequency and duration of a low wind event of 20MW or less between November
2008 and December 2010 was once every 6.38 days for a period of 4.93 hours.
4. At each of the four highest peak demands of 2010 wind output was low being respectively 4.72%, 5.51%, 2.59% and 2.51% of capacity at peak demand.
5. The entire pumped storage hydro capacity in the UK can provide up to 2788MW for only 5 hours then it drops to 1060MW, and finally runs out of water after 22 hours.
The crazy drive by governments everywhere towards the grossly over rated and hideously expensive and grossly inefficient wind power is one of the main reasons for the increasing fuel poverty being experienced by the poor and oldest particularly in the UK and other parts of Europe.
As an un-named Australian Cabinet Minister has supposedly been quoted as saying “Alternative power generation is one of the most efficient ways of transferring wealth from the poor to the rich”.

Phillip Bratby

World-wide statistics on wind farm accidents are maintained by the Caithness Wind Farm Information Forum. Fires, collapse, blade failure – it’s all there. Fires are very frequent and impossible to put out.

Neil Turner

OK, the warmists had their picture of the polar bear on the shrinking ice flow.
Now, we sceptics have our icon.
A picture paints a thousand words….


They should add a KY pump to reduce friction during high winds… /sarc


Don’t work when its still, don’t work when it blows. But it makes crony capitalists money any way.

cui bono

Gales of laughter.

P Wilson

Wind turbines that get taken out by wind.


This was exactly the first thing that came to mind when someone posted a link in the UK media that a major winter storm was about to hit the UK. “There go to turbines” was, I think, my first thought.
THIS is the primary argument against wind power (and solar). We can not have a power supply subject to having the generation capacity destroyed by bad weather. Sure, we are used to having distribution system damage due to weather and power lines can be repaired in relatively short order, but when the generation capacity is destroyed, we do not have a robust source of power for the country.
Solar is even worse in areas that regularly experience large damaging hail. Imagine making an investment for a solar generation infrastructure only to see it destroyed in a hail storm and have to be replaced … maybe every single year!


Hope they have the equivalent of HazMat on scene, rare earth magnets release toxic fumes with temps above 350’ish. This is the main reason they cannot/should not be machined.

Steve Oregon

FYI Dams are wind proof.
Regulators Tell Bonneville Power Administration to Stop Pulling the Plug On Wind Farms, in the December 7 Oregonian link at ,
begins with the following statements,
“Federal energy regulators told the Bonneville Power Administration Wednesday that it can no longer discriminate against wind farm owners by cutting off their transmission during periods of excess electricity generation in the region.
The decision is a rare defeat for the federal power marketing agency, which sells electricity generated at 31 federal hydroelectric projects in the region to 140 public utilities. BPA also controls three quarters of the high voltage transmission system in the Northwest.
During last spring’s massive runoff, BPA adopted a policy of curtailing generation by wind farms in the region when there was too much power going into the grid, and substituting its own hydropower for free to satisfy those winds farms’ contracts with customers.
BPA contended that it couldn’t dial back hydroelectric generation because sending excess water over the dams’ spillways rather than through turbines would create too much turbulence and violate dissolved gas limits established to protect salmon.”


Maybe they should design these things so they can be retracted into the ground when the wind gets too high.

Geoff Shorten

Just updated my wallpaper from a previous picture (posted here?) to this one…
…and another one bites the dust!


Now if those damn birds happened along at the same time, we could have a ready made BBQ 🙂


Climate Change proponents push the BS that we’ll have more frequent storms due to a rise of Co2, and we should pay millions extra on our utility bills to build more wind farms to help reduce Co2.
Hmm… (scratches chin) they didn’t put too much thought into that argument!

EU Referendum had a great idea: Solve climate change–burn wind turbines.

Mac the Knife

Is the black pall of smoke, molten debris ejecta , and spray of transmission oil all part of ‘reducing our carbon foot prints’? Hmmmm????
How’s that working….. other than creating another hazardous waste clean up site? And potentially setting the surrounding countryside ablaze, with 160mph winds to drive the conflagration!!!


Strange they cannot feather the blades…..

Dan Evans

Imagine a few thousand of these in dry forest or grassland in the southwest U.S.
High winds. Fire.
What could possibly go wrong?


According to The Telegraph that melting windmill cost £2,000,000, thats about $3,000,000. £20,000 a metre!

Stu Miller

Coal fired plants which burn powdered coal, as in turbines, use a very explosive material-coal dust. Coal plants seem to be reasonably good at handling the danger, though.


Why does the bad, bad wind hate the leftists so much?


These things obviously get built to the same quality standard employed for IPCC reports.


This morning when I heard there was going to be high winds in Scotland, I searched for live web cams of wind farms. No luck. I figured there would be windmill carnage and was hoping to watch.

Mark S

Wind speeds have been up to 165mph. Not 50mph. That’s stronger than “hurricane” Irene, but with less global media coverage because it wasn’t affecting the USA.

richard verney

I firmly suspect that the promoters of this type of energy production have very much under-estimated the maintenance costs.
If some (and this may be only one) turbine is unable to cope with wind speeds of 50moh and collapsed as a consequence of encountering such wind force, then every turbine (or at any rate every turbine made by the same manufcturer and/or installed by the same installer) which has at any time (in the past and in the future if 50mph plus winds are experienced) will as a result of health and safety laws need to be inspected and certified safe. Should sometime in the future another turbine collapse and cause injury, the failure to carry out such an inspection would lead to legal liabilities against the windfarm and/or the suppliers of maintenance services and/or the designers and/or manufacturers of the windturbine. This liabilities could in extreme cases lead to a charge of corporate manslaughter should a death occur.
I suspect that winds of 50mph are not uncommon and hence there will in future be a need for inspections to be carried out on a repeated basis, This will add to the costs of maintenance.

richard verney

Neil Turner says:
December 8, 2011 at 11:31 am
Talk about pictures of cuddly polar bears, how about this one:
Something which the tree hugging greens probably would not wish to promote.

cui bono

It’s probably the most energy a turbine has ever produced!


There is something strange with that windmill. Apparently it is facing the wind backward. Look at the two other turbines and the direction of the burning/falling debris and the smoke. Was it stuck in that position and turning backwards?


richard verney says:
December 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm
The greens will say that the cub was drowning due to the lack of ice and the papa bear was just helping it out the water.


Has anyone tried a modified turbine ventilator, like those typically found on barns? Elongate the thing, say 60 feet tall and maybe three or four feet in diameter with the generator on the ground and a single structural member rising beside the blades to secure the other end of the axle at the top.


The prospects of a last-minute deal on climate change have emerged at the UN talks in Durban, as the US threw its weight behind the European Union’s proposal for a roadmap towards a new global agreement.
All eyes are now on China, the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, which has yet to back the proposal, and according to some insiders has been giving conflicting signals.
Other big developing countries such as Brazil and South Africa have said they are willing to discuss the proposed programme, though India has rejected it.
With only a day and a half of negotiating time left to run, the words of support from the US on Thursday came as a surprise to the conference. Todd Stern, US special envoy for climate change, told a press conference: “The EU has called for a roadmap. We support that.”

Here is an exercise for climate modellers: To prevent extreme weather from too much CO2, you install many windgenerators; in a fluke extreme wind, some break and set the mountain on fire; that creates CO2; you install more wind generators to offset that, some of which burn etc etc…
How long before you get a division by zero?


Truly an Iconic picture of the ugly off-spring when science and politics(media) are married.

That’s pretty ironic that strong wind is one of the greatest enemies of wind turbines. Imagine that a big profit on the stock market were a major enemy of a trader. 😉

Dave Springer

Winds as high as 165mph were reported that day in Scotland with 70-80mph sustained in most populated areas.
If you get hit by a 165mph wind you got a lot more than windmills to worry about as that will easily take the roof off a house.
F3 Severe tornado 158-206 mph
Roof and some walls torn off well constructed houses; trains overturned; most trees in fores uprooted.
I didn’t see any adjacent damage, no debris, and am presuming the leaves were already off those trees in the background not blown off. However the tower was isolated and it still could have been a microburst or unreported twister.


*note should read “junk” science…
My pardons for the real ‘science’ still around.


Blair. @ 12:57
Vertical turbines were frequently discussed about 30 years ago. I haven’t heard much about them in recent years. Cost must be the reason.
Right off hand. The winds are stronger aloft but a vertical turbine is best suited to winds just above the ground. Very tall ones would seem to need bracing not easily constructed for them.


Ray says:
December 8, 2011 at 12:43 pm
Nice show of observations skills, CSI Special Wind Crime Unit. Que theme tune. Yeeeaaaaahhh!

the headline in Britain last week – ‘Huhne plans 32,000 more wind turbines’
this week – ‘Huhne plans 32,002 more wind turbines’
and counting


Captain! We’re venting plasma from the port nacelle!
Engineering, switch to Baseload Thorium Power! Engage! Make it so!

cui bono

We shouldn’t be too hard on wind. Remember the eco-alternative (covered on WUWT on July 5th):

re: Richard Verney:
“Talk about pictures of cuddly polar bears, how about this one:……”
Not uncommon at all for big brown bear boars (males) to chow down on the cubs – which is one of the reasons you usually see the sows and cubs together but never boars with the cubs. Happens with great regularity here in Alaska. Cheers –