Several of Britain’s growing fleet of wind farms ground to a halt on Thursday as severe gales battered the country.
The storms, which caused transport chaos and left hundreds of thousands without electricity, proved too much for some wind farms.
Most turbines, which are intentionally sited in some of the windiest parts of the country, automatically stop spinning for safety reasons when wind speeds exceed 25 meters per second, or about 55 miles per hour.
With gusts reaching upto 90 mph on Thursday, turbines across the Britain slammed on the brakes, cutting their output.
“We’ve had a number shut down,” a spokeswoman for E.ON UK (EONG.DE: Quote, Profile , Research), which is a leading force in the British wind farm business. “It’s standard industry practice.”
She said E.ON wind farms in Yorkshire, north Wales, Northern Ireland and other areas had all stopped due to high winds.
Britain’s largest energy supplier, Centrica, also saw its Barrow wind turbines in the Irish Sea stop in the storm.
“Our Barrow project was not running,” a spokesman for the company said. “Wind speeds have averaged about 65 mph but it was gusting up to 80 mph… They slow down and then they lock up.”
Most turbines need wind speeds of four to 25 metres per second to operate. The closer to the top end of that range, the more power they produce.
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