Wind turbine collapses from too much wind

November 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

A turbine at one of the largest wind farms in the world has collapsed — thanks to too much wind.

The 10-year-old turbine collapsed after a windstorm swept through the area earlier this week, reports the East Oregonian. The Stateline Wind Farm is run by NextEra Energy, who has promised to clean up any oil or fluid that may have been spilled during the storm.

NextEra has received $852 million from the Obama administration to build wind turbines in California.

The Oregonian reported that the turbine collapse raises questions about building thousands of massive wind turbines in eastern Oregon and Washington.

“It’s a fairly rare event, but still raises questions about the longevity of region’s burgeoning wind fleet, whether turbines are being run within their operational tolerances and the environmental impact of such accidents, which typically result in the spill of hazardous chemicals,” The Oregonian reported.

Wind turbine collapses have killed humans before. The Oregonian reports that an Oregon wind turbine collapse killed a man in 2007. In 2011, The Telegraph reported that there were 300 wind turbine accidents that killed. The previous five years saw 1,500 such accidents in the U.K.

Wind turbines have also been criticized for their impacts on wildlife, killing 888,000 bats and 573,000 birds per year. Some rare and endangered birds have been killed.

“It is the rationale that we have to get off of carbon, we have to get off of fossil fuels, that allows them to justify this,” said Tom Dougherty, a former National Wildlife Federation employee. “But at what cost? In this case, the cost is too high.”

However, the Obama administration has not prosecuted a single wind company for killing birds despite nearly all these birds being protected by federal law.

“Despite numerous violations, the Obama administration — like the Bush administration before it — has unofficially exempted the wind industry from prosecution under the Eagle Protection and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts,” wrote the Manhattan Institute’s Robert Bryce. “By exempting the wind industry from prosecution under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act or the Eagle Protection Act, the federal government is providing another indirect subsidy to the sector.”

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