System fault led to Screggagh wind turbine collapse

The unexpected collapse of a giant wind turbine earlier this year that scattered debris across a wide area in Northern Ireland was put down to a fault in its systems for controlling the blades, the company said.

Although no one was injured when the £2m turbine unexpectedly buckled and hit the ground, the owners closed down the wind farm for an investigation to determine the cause of the incident.

“Nordex has concluded its interim investigation and confirmed that this was a unique fault concerning the wind turbine blade control system,” Doreen Walker, director of the wind farm, said.

The 100 metre high wind turbine was one of eight structures on the Screggagh wind farm near Fintona, County Tyrone, and was supplied by the turbine manufacturer Nordex UK.

“Following identification of the failure mechanism, Nordex has immediately implemented an additional protective measure to exclude any reoccurrence of this incident,” Walker said.

As E&T news reported, it was understood that at the time of the collapse the rotor blades spun out of control despite normal weather conditions with “medium” wind speeds measuring about 10 or 12 metres per second.

Some witnesses described the crash as an explosion that could be heard up to seven miles away, while other accounts claimed to have heard the sound of grinding metal throughout the day.

“The wind turbine had been in uninterrupted operation for almost four years. Debris from the collapsed wind turbine fell mainly close to the turbine and all contained within the wind farm site boundary,” Walker said.

“The furthest debris was 264 metres from the turbine. No debris fell on to the public road or neighbouring land holdings.”

Screggagh wind farm will become operational again from tomorrow, after being shut down immediately on Friday 2 January.

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