November 22, 2007

Gulliver shut down for safety precaution

A lightning strike on the Lowestoft wind turbine has resulted in it being out of action for the past four weeks, it emerged yesterday.

Although it suffered damage in a storm during the summer it has now been discovered that it has suffered minor damage to one of the tips and has been shut down for safety reasons.

The giant 120-metre landmark, known as Gulliver, was hit during the thunderstorm on June 8.

Engineers had the blades spinning again the same day, but a maintenance inspection last month uncovered the problem.

The turbine, capable of powering 1,600 homes, will remain closed until specialised equipment can be brought in to bring the blade down to ground level for repairs.

Lowestoft energy company SLP Engineering developed the turbine in 2004 and still holds its maintenance contract.

The company’s communications manager Kerry-Leigh Gauntt, said: “This is the fourth week the turbine has been offline.

“Due to the nature of the blade damage, the repair cannot be completed with the blade in situ.

“The timing of the operation will be dependent on the availability of a suitable crane. To ensure that no further damage is incurred and for safety reasons the turbine will not be operating.”

Gulliver was able to function for months after the bolt struck because of a range of safeguards including lightning receptors in the blade tips and a Faraday cage which catches the electromagnetic pulse to protect the internal circuitry.

It is the country’s tallest onshore wind turbine and was bought by energy company Triodos Renewables for £3.3m in 2006.

The Lowestoft Journal

22 November 2007

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