A 230 metres tall Vestas wind turbine tower has collapsed at a project site in northern Sweden, in the latest of a series of accidents and malfunctions involving the Danish wind giant’s hardware.
Drone footage published on a Swedish news site shows the snow-covered wreckage of a 4.2-megawatt Vestas V150 turbine, which appears to have collapsed after buckling part of the way up its tower.
The turbine was one of 17 at the Aldermyrberget wind farm, which is nearing completion by WPD Scandinavia AB – some turbines had been sending power to the grid – and was due to start commercial operations next month, according to the project website.
Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that the cause of the accident was as yet unknown and that a team was being put together by Vestas to investigate at the site – weather, and particularly snow, permitting.
“We have a very comprehensive investigation process for incidents like this and we initiated that yesterday,” Vestas spokesperson Anders Riis told Bloomberg on Monday. “Now we will start collecting information and get the right people to the site.”
Riis also pointed out that Vestas has installed more than 75,000 turbines around the globe and that it was “extremely rare” for accidents like this to happen.
That said, the company is not having a great run this year. Just last month ago in the US, MidAmerican Energy was forced to idle more than 40 turbines at Iowa wind farms after a 50 metre-long turbine blade broke off and fell into a field.
This followed a similar incident in September at MidAmerican’s Arbor Hills wind farm in Adair County, where a turbine blade broke off a turbine and fell into a cornfield. And at the company’s Orient wind farm, also in Adair County, blades broke from turbines in April of this year and in October 2019.
In Australia, a newly installed turbine at Tilt Renewables’ Dundonnell wind farm, in Victoria, dropped a 73 metre, 15 tonne blade – an incident that investigations have since put down to bolts becoming loose. The question of why the bolts became loose is still under investigation.
Another Vestas turbine blade fall – in this case caused by a lightning strike – was also recorded at the Lal Lal wind farm, also in Victoria, last year.
As RenewEconomy has reported, lightening is being investigated as a possible cause for the US incidents, too, with MidAmerican looking into the lightning channelling systems that are built in to Vestas turbines. None of the incidents in Australia or the US caused any human injuries.