On 7 December, 2011 Merimbula News Weekly published my Letter to the Editor in which I drew attention to a wind turbine which shattered at Goulburn Airport a few days earlier, throwing turbine blades for a distance of 200m.
It has happened again. This time in south west Gippsland at the Wonthaggi wind farm which has about the same capacity as the proposed Eden Wind Farm. The Weekend Australian of March 24-25 reports that a wind turbine blade shattered in moderate wind conditions, flinging large pieces of debris over a wide area. A representative of the wind farm operator is reported as being mystified as to the cause of the accident and saying that the turbine blades were high quality and made by a leading Danish company. Locals called for the wind farm to be closed pending an investigation.
In both of these cases, the wind turbines were located a long way from places where people work, so nobody was hurt. It doesn’t take much imagination to work out the consequences of a similar incident taking place within an open, active work place like the SEFE chipmill, which is the site of the proposed Eden Wind Farm. Death or serious injury to a number of workers would be highly likely.
The NSW Draft Planning Guidelines: Wind Farms list “blade throw” under a Hazards and Risks heading at clause 3.2 and the document goes on to require “separation distance from neighbouring dwellings” (ie people) as a factor in assessing risk from blade throw in wind farm proposals.
This is not scare mongering. It is based on many documented examples of catastrophic wind turbine failure. It happens, it’s real.
I care about worker safety. I have been a tradie for many years and I believe that nobody should be exposed to danger at work. I have many friends among the SEFE workers. Please abandon this insane proposal!
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