Close encounters of the turbine

15 January 2009

Five of our other Fen Farm turbines.

Rebuilding has started on our ‘UFO’ damaged wind turbine at Fen Farm, Lincolnshire. All three blades and the central hub are due to be replaced in the coming days. The cranes are on site and ready to go. The new blades and central hub are already on site ready to be lifted into place.

The investigation into the cause of the damage has as yet to draw any conclusions. The UFO story has dominated press reports since The Sun ran their front page splash last Thursday.

“To be honest we had a lot of fun with this, and that took the edge off what was otherwise a serious and very bad event for us” said Dale Vince, managing director of Ecotricity.

But what really happened?

There are a number of likely culprits - collision (UFO included), lightning, material failure, design failure and maintenance failure. The investigation is narrowing down the options, we are closer to an understanding of what happened but we’re not there yet.

Sadly for the UFO enthusiasts we can still see no evidence for collision. If an object collided with the turbine you would expect some debris on the ground and some ‘exchange’ of materials on the blade surface. Investigation of the ‘bent’ blade once it’s removed may shed some light on this. It is more than likely, as many have suggested, that the fallen blade hit and broke the second blade on the way down.

“As for UFOs? I believe absolutely that intelligent life exists in the universe. But I doubt that if it could get here from another galaxy it would crash into a windmill – then again accidents will happen” said Dale Vince. “All good fun. But seriously UFOs are bottom of my probability list.”

For more info visit, or read more about our Fen Farm wind park.

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