A giant wind turbine blade which dislodged and plummeted to the ground is set to be fitted in the coming weeks having been repaired, the energy provider which runs the site has confirmed.
No-one was hurt during the incident – which occurred in March last year at the EDF-run Park Spring Wind Farm near Grimethorpe – but mystery still surrounds why it became loose.
The three turbines were erected in 2015 and helped to generate almost nine megawatts of energy which can power up to 5,000 homes, but the damaged structure and two unharmed ones have been out of action for more than a year while investigations were carried out.
A spokesperson for EDF said ‘months of preparatory works with a team of specialists conducting surveys, scoping, ground works and integrity checks’ completed last month, having removed the damage.
On Saturday, the first convoy which carried the huge new blade made its way to Park Spring Road, travelling from the A1 through Marr, Hickleton and Goldthorpe, escorted by South Yorkshire Police, followed by the remaining load on Tuesday.
A letter, sent by EDF chief executive Matthieu Hue to Coun Kevin Osborne and the Chronicle, said: “In the next few days we will commence the work necessary with our partners, GE Renewables, to rebuild the turbine and bring it back online.
“I would like to thank the local community and businesses for their co-operation throughout the decommissioning of the turbine, and for patience as we have worked to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
“Please be assured that this next stage has been comprehensively reviewed by multiple stakeholders, including health and safety executives, and our team of specialist experts will be on site throughout the recommissioning.
“I have also written an update to Little Houghton Parish Council, ASOS and Barnsley Council to assure people we are working hand and in the interests of everyone to get this situation rectified as quickly and safely as possible.”
Coun Osborne told the Chronicle the cause of the failure was still unknown to the public – but revealed the trade association for wind farms, RenewableUK, were aware and he is now pushing EDF to be transparent about the incident.
He added: “I fully support sites such as this as they’re the backbone of our future energy strategies, but to keep the reason as to why the turbine failed away from the public is not good enough.
“I was on the scene within an hour of the incident – it was not particularly bad weather – but still saw debris from the broken blade thrown over 200 metres from the tower.
“Thankfully it landed on quiet footpaths and agricultural land, but this could have been different if ASOS employees were walking near the site, which they often do.
“Most industry experts typically say a turbine lasts 25 years, but this one only lasted six.
“I think it is only right that the reason for such a catastrophic failure is made public and I will continue to ask that this happens.”
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