A 100 metre-tall wind turbine in Co Tyrone collapsed in average breezes due to a fault with its blade control system, its owner has said.
The turbine was one of eight on Screggagh Windfarm between Fintona and Fivemiletown on Murley mountain – the remainder of which will be turned back on today.
Debris was scattered over a wide area when it fell on January 2, with witnesses saying the rotor blades were spinning out of control on the evening the turbine buckled.
The furthest debris was 264 metres away and the sound of the falling structure was heard for more than seven miles.
An investigation was launched by manufacturers Nordex who said at the time they were “not advising any operators of N80/2500 to turn off their wind farms”.
However, Screggagh Windfarm confirmed yesterday that the fault was “concerning the wind turbine blade control system” of all those of a “similar generation”.
Campaigners had warned of “ticking time bombs” as dozens of 200ft wind turbines identical to the stricken model remained in operation across Ireland.
Nordex spokesman Ralf Peters said the Screggagh site near Fintona had been shut down only “as a precaution” and confirmed that other sites remain active – the company has installed 58 N80/2500 turbine in Ireland, 44 in the north and 14 in the south.
The Screggagh windfarm opened in 2011 at a total cost of £26 million.
The firm has now insisted that an “additional protective measure” will ensure the fault will not happen again.
“Nordex has concluded its interim investigation and confirmed that this was a unique fault concerning the wind turbine blade control system,” Doreen Walker, Screggagh Windfarm Ltd director said.
“This has not been previously seen in the Nordex fleet and is applicable only to turbines of a similar generation to those provided for Screggagh windfarm.
“Following identification of the failure mechanism, Nordex has immediately implemented an additional protective measure to exclude any reoccurrence of this incident.”
She said that the wind turbine had been “in uninterrupted operation for almost four years” and the site’s precautionary health and safety alert processes worked as intended with local emergency services alerted and in attendance within minutes.
“Screggagh Windfarm has been completely shut down since the wind turbine collapsed so that Nordex could complete a full investigation into the remaining seven wind turbines at the site and confirm that they are safe to operate,” Ms Walker said.
“Nordex technicians have now performed a series of rigorous tests of the safety systems on all remaining turbines, and have confirmed that all of the turbines comply to design specifications and are now safe to restart.”
Screggagh Windfarm will be back up and running today.
* OUT-OF-CONTROL: A 100-metre-tall turbine at Screggagh Windfarm in Co Tyrone collapsed in January
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