Tuesday, August 28, 2007


The bigger they are, the more often they fail:
Wind turbines continue to multiply the world over. But as they grow bigger and bigger, the number of dangerous accidents is climbing. How safe is wind energy?

It came without warning. A sudden gust of wind ripped the tip off of the rotor blade with a loud bang. The heavy, 10-meter (32 foot) fragment spun through the air, and crashed into a field some 200 meters away.

After the industry's recent boom years, wind power providers and experts are now concerned. The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting. Gearboxes hiding inside the casings perched on top of the towering masts have short shelf lives, often crapping out before even five years is up. In some cases, fractures form along the rotors, or even in the foundation, after only limited operation. Short circuits or overheated propellers have been known to cause fires. All this despite manufacturers' promises that the turbines would last at least 20 years.
I can't quite work out if wind power sucks or blows.

Note to self: very carefully reread posts -- especially titles -- when posting after bedtime.


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