April 30, 2018
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.