Clyde MacDonald: Wind turbine fire danger (BDN)

April 30, 2018

Wind turbine fire danger

Google Caithness Windfarm Information Forum’s “windfarm accident reports” and “wind turbine fires” for data on turbine fires. The forum’s entries are derived from world media accounts because no government records turbine fires. Lack of official data enables wind power advocates to claim fires are rare. The forum reports 312 turbine fires since 2000, some involving oil spills or creating fires in fields and forests.

Maine is especially vulnerable. Its turbines are placed high up on forested mountain sides. Leading causes of turbine fires are overheated gearboxes and lightning strikes. Science knows higher elevations are more susceptible to lightning. Maine is fortunate its two turbine fires occurred in snowy winters, not during droughts.

Denmark recently led a second European effort to curb fires by creating a joint investigatory commission. In 2010, a similar European commission recommended hiring state inspectors who would test lubricants in independent laboratories every two to five years in efforts to reduce friction in gearboxes.

Maine has no independent inspectors or state laboratories that make such tests despite the fact lubricants do break down. Maine also has no operating regulations or limits on numbers, and no plan. Laissez-faire rules.

Maine people should realize that turbines involve placing 350- to 450-foot poles containing 250 to 250 gallons of flammable liquid hundreds of feet in the air (football fields are only 300 feet, goal to goal).

Where are our environmentalists, foresters and responsible legislators? Nowhere.

Clyde MacDonald




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Comment by arthur qwenk on May 4, 2018 at 11:27am

A Freedom of Information Request should be filed by anyone who is Maine resident concerning this UMPI important issue, requesting info on fire, cost, output over the years and financial losses and other costs.

Comment by Pineo Girl on April 30, 2018 at 8:37pm

Thanks for this Clyde!

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Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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