A wind farm that was shut down after a 100-metre turbine collapsed is back in action.
All turbines at Screggagh Wind Farm Ltd near Fintona, Co Tyrone, were shut down after the turbine collapsed on January 2, scattering debris over a wide area. Winds were said to be light at the time.
The owners have now announced that the wind farm will be operational again today after turbine supplier Nordex UK Ltd declared it safe to restart.
Doreen Walker, director of Screggagh Wind Farm Ltd, said: “Nordex has concluded its interim investigation and confirmed that this was a unique fault concerning the wind turbine blade control system.
“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.
“Following identification of the failure mechanism, Nordex immediately implemented an additional protective measure to exclude any recurrence of this incident.”
Ms Walker said the remaining seven turbines had now been investigated and were safe.
“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,” she said.
“These test results have been reviewed by our independent consultants, DNV GL, and they too are satisfied that all of the turbines have passed all tests.” Ms Walker said no debris from the turbine fell beyond the wind farm site boundary.
“The furthest debris was 264m from the turbine. No debris fell on to the public road or neighbouring or adjoining land holdings,” she said.
But wind farm opponents have said that it is only a matter of time before the next wind farm accident.
Owen McMullan of West Tyrone Against Wind Turbines said: “My main concern is that there is no medical or scientific evidence to prove that it is safe to erect industrial wind turbines so close to dwellings, schools, places of work or even public roads.
“We have photographs of debris on the road, and indeed on the other side of it.
“This consisted of fragments of fibreglass, some of which are hard and sharp.
“One of our group reported the collapse to the Health and Safety Executive on the Saturday afternoon and the person who took the message was unaware that a major incident had occurred.
“Was the event not considered to be relevant enough to merit informing them earlier?
“Is it common policy within the wind industry to allow incidents like Screggagh to go unreported?”
A HSENI spokesperson said: “HSENI is continuing to work with the company on any learning for the industry to come out of this incident.”
The turbine, valued at more than £500,000, was one of eight on the wind farm on Murley Mountain. Local people said the rotor blades were spinning out of control on the day the turbine buckled. The sound of the failing turbine was heard more than seven miles away. Some said the sound was like thunder. The turbine has a 80-metre rotor diameter and base to blade tip height of 100 metres.
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