The blade of a wind turbine on the edge of Bodmin Moor was being replaced this week after being shattered by a lightning strike.
The turbine was one of two which provides power for the Cornish Natural Spring Water Company which produces five million bottles of water a year from an underground lake at Treboy Farm, St Clether, and sells all over the country.
The lightning strike was described as “massive” by the company’s managing director Martyn Ham, but he says the blade was left mainly intact and caused no damage to humans, animals or buildings.
However, the lightning strike itself five weeks ago caused huge damage, estimated at over £50,000, and loss of production.
“I have never experienced anything like it. There were huge hailstones, a massive bang,” said Mr Ham.
“It was such a big strike it knocked out all the computer systems, the bottling equipment, all the phone sockets. The damage went back from here all through the line to Kennards House. It blew the electric box to bits. However, the lightning conductor worked well and there was no fire.”
Mr Ham said the cost of the strike was likely to be £50-£60,000 and that the blade had landed on the grass.
“The whole place shook, and the worst part of it is that our two and a half year old son Ethan has not slept properly since.”
Some people are worried that the fact that the blade flew off at St Clether, together with reports of two turbine poles toppling over at North Petherwin and just over the border in Devon at Bradworthy is an indication that the structures are not safe.
Local resident Sheila Lawes said people in the area are concerned about the dangers if a turbine gets damaged. Another turbine was about to be erected at nearby Piper’s Pool and a fresh investigation has now been launched after a second tower was said to have been toppled during high winds in North Cornwall.
Investigations continued into how a 111ft (34m) turbine crashed to the ground on farmland over the border in Bradworthy last Sunday week less than three years after it was commissioned.
The turbine at East Ash Farm, collapsed in the early hours of Sunday and both the installers of the turbine Dulas Ltd and the Health and Safety Executive have confirmed investigations are under way.
It has also emerged that one of two 17m (55ft) 11kW Gaia turbines installed at Winsdon Farm, North Petherwin – the family farm of Liberal Democrat Cornwall councillor Adam Paynter – was badly damaged during the recent bad weather.
Local resident, Hilary Vincent, said the turbine was blown down on Wednesday afternoon.
A spokesman for Gaia-Wind confirmed the collapse, adding: “There has been an incident where a turbine tower has been damaged.
“No other injury or damage is involved and we are investigating the cause. The turbine is on private, rural property – it is a high quality, well-installed turbine with an outstanding track record for safety and reliability.”
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