German media focus on turbine fires

GERMANY: Several onshore wind turbine fires in Germany in recent months have triggered media interest, with even financial newspaper Handelsblatt reporting a single turbine fire in Saxony Anhalt.

The Fuhrlander turbine fire was the result of a technical fault
The Fuhrlander turbine fire was the result of a technical fault

The Saxony Anhalt incident happened at a three-turbine project near Klein Rodensleben on 27 October 2013 during stormy weather.

The local fire-fighting association Feuerwehrverband Börde e.V. said the nacelle burnt out completely and a burning blade fell to the ground. 

Burning debris flew several hundred metres but no one was hurt and the fire did not spread on the ground, the fire association reported that day. It added: "The difficulty was to find out which company operated the turbines and to contact them."

Vestas said Handelsblatt's claim it was one its turbines was incorrect.

Speaking to Windpower Monthly, Energiequelle, which owns the Windpark Wanzleben-Rodensleben, said the turbine was a Fuhrlander 1.5MW. He said the fire was due to a technical fault, not the storm.

Other recent turbine fires include an Enercon 800kW turbine that went up in flames at the Windpark Sande on 11th October 2013, the NWZ-Online newspaper service reported 15th October 2013.

An eight-year old Nordex 1.5MW turbine in Windpark Regiowind plus Lahr/Seelbach caught fire on 25th September 2013.

The local fire brigade chief was cited by wind station operator Ökostrom Freiburg in a statement, "Better a burning wind turbine than an exploding nuclear reactor."

On 6th August 2013, a Vestas 600kW turbine installed back in 1995 at Beidenfleth-Grosskampen had a fire problem in the tower entrance room, the newspaper Wilstersche Zeitung reported 8th August 2013.

A wind turbine installed near Naumburg caught fire on 2nd April 2013, reported the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung that day and news service Stralsund-intern reported 27th March 2013 that a Vestas turbine located near to Gross Bisdorf and Griebenow in the parish of Süderhof near Greifswald had caught fire and burnt out.

In most cases the fire brigade has no access to the fire in the nacelles on the high turbine towers and simply watches and waits to ensure the fire burns out safely and without spreading. Wind turbines are relatively seldom occurrences amongst the over 23,300 wind turbines installed onshore in Germany.

The incident come amid reports that two engineers were killed in the Netherlands when a wind turbine caught fire.

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