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Whittlesey: A faulty sensor led to turbine ice shower  

Credit:  www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk 16 January 2009 ~~

A faulty sensor on a giant wind turbine is being blamed for huge shards of ice flying off its blades and crashing into nearby homes and gardens.

As The Evening Telegraph reported in November, residents in King’s Dyke, Whittlesey, had to take cover for more than four hours when huge lumps of ice, some measuring 2ft, were flung from the giant machine’s blades.

Freezing overnight temperatures had caused the ice to form and after frantic calls to its owner, Truro-based firm Cornwall Light and Power, the 2 million machine was eventually turned off.

Investigations have been carried out and the cause revealed as a failing sensor, which should have stopped the blades turning once ice was detected.

The firm’s chief executive Neil Harris said: “We have conducted a thorough investigation into what happened and how to ensure the safe operation of the turbine during icy conditions.

“The sensor that we had been advised to rely upon in stopping the turbine under icy conditions did not perform as expected.

“As such, in the short term we have proposed that the turbine is automatically stopped if temperatures drop below 4C.”

The blades are now turning once more to the dismay of terrified people living or working a stone’s throw from the towering machine.

The turbine, which measures 80 metres tall at its hub and 125 metres when one of its three blades stands vertical, was switched back on on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Harris said new sensors will be installed on the turbine which will continually monitor the condition of the blades and detect the formation of ice, automatically shutting it down.

However, these state-of-the-art sensors will not be fitted until the autumn, which is causing a great deal of concern for owner of neighbouring King’s Dyke Karpets Maria Clark.

She said: “They should keep it turned off until the new sensor is put on making it safer – they’re just being greedy.

“What is it going to take, someone getting killed?

“Another worry is that a blade could come off and because we’re so close, there’s no doubt it would kill somebody. It’s awful having to come to work every day with that thought hanging over your head.”

Peter Randall (47) lives opposite the giant machine and owns a welding business yards away.

He said: “I’m just waiting for a blade to go flying into someone’s house, maybe they’ll turn it off then.

“I don’t see why they can’t just put it in the farmer’s field where it can’t cause any damage.”

Source:  www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk 16 January 2009

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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