CC2.0 Washington DNR
Wind turbines are essentially small buckets of
lubricating oil on top of a large metal stick, with rotating wings
attached. Add a strike of lightning, a short circuit or a
mechanical fault and they occasionally set alight. While that might
good photo, no one's sure how big a problem
it is. A new report
tries to work it out.
The research by a group of academics from the
University of Edinburgh and Imperial College London for the
International Association for Fire Safety Science (IAFSS) tries to
assess how common wind turbine fires are and how dangerous they
might be. But the researchers ran into a problem: there's not much
When looking for data on wind turbine fires, the
researchers found many "sources of information are incomplete,
biased, or contain non-publically available data". So it's hard to
reliably assess the extent of the problem.
Nonetheless, the researchers give it a go using
data from the - admittedly fairly biased - Caithness Windfarm
Information Forum (CWIF). That's an anti-windfarm campaign group,
so you can be sure they've done their best to record as many
and as serious accidents as possible.
The CWIF recorded a total of 1,328 accidents
involving wind turbines between 1995 and 2012. Of those, 200
involved fire. There have been no recorded fatalities and four
recorded injuries from wind turbine fires, the IAFSS report
That's 11.7 fires per year on average, or nearly
one a month, the research points out.