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Warning over foundations after Cornwall turbine collapse  

Credit:  Western Morning News | February 19, 2013 | www.thisiscornwall.co.uk ~~

A wind turbine manufacturer has written to more than a dozen owners after one of its machines collapsed in Cornwall during bad weather.

Glasgow-based Gaia Wind constructed the 60ft (18m) tower which was toppled at Winsdon Farm, North Petherwin – the family farm of Liberal Democrat Cornwall Councillor Adam Paynter.

The incident followed the collapse of a larger 111ft (34m) turbine on farmland at Bradworthy, in Devon, less than three years after it was commissioned.

It has now emerged that Gaia Wind has written to 15 customers for “reassurance and assistance” after identifying a potential problem with the turbine’s “foundation connection system”.

None of those affected are in Devon and Cornwall, the company confirmed.

A spokesman for Gaia Wind said yesterday: “The investigation is still ongoing, although this incident appears to be very specific to a foundation connection system on an early batch of turbine towers.

“These towers were redesigned during 2010 in response to changes in European standards and since 2011 we have been supplying second-generation turbine towers.

“Gaia Wind has written to a small number of owners of our first-generation turbine towers to notify them and offer assistance.

“This issue only concerns this small number of owners, which is a very small percentage of our overall installed fleet.”

The incidents have prompted wider concerns about the safety of hundreds of turbines which have been installed across the region.

The Health and Safety Executive has confirmed it is investigating the Devon collapse, as it occurred at a workplace, but not the Cornish incident, which took place on private property.

Endurance Wind Power, the company which made the turbine installed at East Ash Farm, Bradworthy, has launched its own “precautionary” investigation into 20 of 300 turbines erected around the same time.

The location of the 20 turbines is not known, although the firm has 27 sites listed on its website as being operational in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, mostly installed in the past two to three years.

It has said the incident “was not related to a failure or malfunction of the tower or turbine and that neither the tower nor turbine caused or contributed to the collapse”.

But it explained it was working closely with the “dealer that installed the turbine and the engineering firm that designed and supplied its foundation to understand the precise cause of the problem”.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said operators had to make sure their equipment was safe or face claims for damages.

Source:  Western Morning News | February 19, 2013 | www.thisiscornwall.co.uk

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

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