A wind turbine manufacturer has issued an alert to its customers to stop using them after some lost blades in last week’s gales.
In three separate incidents blades were lost in winds of up to 111mph, despite brakes having been applied.
No-one was injured, but in one of the incidents a blade was blown across a road.
Evoco Energy, of Brighouse, is investigating the faults, which occurred near Huddersfield, and has urged its customers to keep the brakes applied on the turbines while it addresses the problem.
In a statement, the company said: “Evoco Energy, manufacturers of small scale wind turbines, confirm that we have recently experienced a series of turbine faults in a localised area of rural West Yorkshire during record-breaking high winds.
“No-one was hurt in the incidents, which are being investigated thoroughly. Health and safety issues are of primary importance to us, and we work to rigorous standards to maintain our excellent record.
“Due to the forecasts of exceptionally-strong winds, and following a previous recent problem with a rotational bearing, we had asked all of our customers to temporarily apply the brakes to their turbines to prevent serious damage while we implemented measures to address the problem.
“Although a brake request had been issued, three incidents occurred during winds of up to 111 miles per hour. In each case, a turbine lost blades, due to the bearing issue for which we had instructed the turbines to be shut down.
“In each case the blades landed within the boundary of the turbine owner’s property, although it appears that in one case, the hurricane-force winds subsequently blew blades on to neighbouring property on the opposite side of a minor rural road.
“We are now investigating why some of our customers’ turbines were spinning in high winds, despite the brakes being applied.”
It said it expects its final modifications, which it has already begun to make, to reduce its failure rate to zero.
It added: “We are compensating our customers for any loss of income.”
The company said it does have some installations in the Bradford district but could not confirm how many there were, or their locations.
Records show applications to install the turbines in Malt Kiln Lane and Deep Lane, Thornton, have been granted by Bradford Council.
Geoff Southgate owns Far Malt Kiln Farm in Malt Kiln Lane, Thornton.
He has an Evoco wind turbine, which has been switched off since December 28, at the request of the company.
He has had the windmill for about 15 months, during which time it has had four different heads and three sets of blades as the firm has made modifications.
He said he had never had a problem with Evoco and despite the turbine having been turned off for a few weeks with those issues and modifications it produced 20,000 kW of electricity last year.
He said: “For those people, safety in mind is the foremost thing all the time. If (a blade) dropped off it would drop into my field. If one got thrown off there’s no telling where it would land, but I don’t think there’s any danger.”
He added: “There’s no point in them burying their heads in the sand and saying carry on. I want it to be right and to be safe and to do the job they are supposed to do. I’m prepared to be patient.”
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