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Turbine in a flap after second safety failure

A council-owned wind turbine in Yeovil has been taken down for a second time amid concerns about its safety.

The future of the turbine is now uncertain after the company which supplied it went in to administration.

Technicians took down the turbine at Yeovil Innovation Centre in Copse Road after manufacturer Proven Energy warned of a defect. Three turbines of the same P35-2 type have suffered failures in high winds in recent months.

The turbine is owned by South Somerset District Council. A spokeswoman said the council was very disappointed by the news because the design had been recommended by a green energy scheme which part funded the turbine. The council was this week waiting for more information about the future of Proven Energy before deciding the future of the turbine which is in storage at another council site.

On Friday, the directors of Proven called in KPMG to act as receivers. A statement from KPMG said: “The company recently suffered a significant setback following the identification of a defect in its P35-2 model, which although management believes is minor and can be repaired, resulted in the requirement to advise customers to temporarily cease using the product. As a result of the product issue and the inability to obtain necessary additional funding, the directors had no option but to cease trading.”

KPMG was seeking a buyer for Proven this week. Any new buyer would not be obliged to honour warranties to Proven’s customers. If this was the case, any warranty claim South Somerset District Council would have to be made to the receivers.

It is the second time the turbine has been dismantled. The propeller was removed for six months in November 2009 after problems developed on a turbine of the same design elsewhere in the UK.

It was first installed in June 2009 in a £56,000 project funded by the district council, with grants from energy firm EDF and the Low Carbon Building Programme. It was originally projected that energy generated by the turbine would repay the council’s investment by early next year.