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:


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:


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


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


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


If it can’t survive winds well above 50 mph then it is not fit for purpose.

North of 43 and south of 44

Some fine engineering there.

Chris Beal

“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?

Ian W

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.


From the DT comments.
This is not an isolated case, another wind turbine was destroyed near Bishop Auckland the same night.


From the DT comments.
6 minutes ago
This is not an isolated case, another wind turbine was destroyed near Bishop Auckland the same night.….

Mike Bromley the Canucklehead back in Kurdistan but actually in Switzerland

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

Heather Brown (aka Dartmoor resident)

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,

Steve Keohane

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.

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


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.


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.

“And in other news, wintering hen harriers breathe a sigh of relief as a controversial wind turbine tumbles…”


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

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.

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.

Gene Selkov

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.

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.


I am very very pleased.

Rob Potter

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.


Imagine the cost of decommissioning the ones out at sea.

John F. Hultquist

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.

Rob Potter

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?


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.


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.

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.

John F. Hultquist

Check out this link for information on the site 15 miles east of where I am:
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.


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


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.

Steve Richards

Is this what they mean by ‘renewable’
Just put up another one, again and again……


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.


“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”.

Look on the bright side – a visually offensive device is no longer visible.


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).


So built to survive 116mph.
Record gust in that part of the world was 118mph:
So that gives a safety factor less than 1! Which engineer signed this off?

cui bono

Not the first time:
Meanwhile: (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?

Doug Huffman

Things robust are only robust to known stresses only.
Read and understand Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Antifragile: Things That Gain From Randomness.


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.

MichaelS in Ottawa

“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.”
“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!


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.


One down, however many thousand to go…

I can only assume that it was built in the USA or Europe, as we no longer have the ability for such “high tech” engineering.

Mike Smith

We’re gonna need a bigger recycling wheelie bin!


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. 🙂

Rigga Mortis

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


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 ?

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…