Spanish police investigate Alstom turbine fires

SPAIN: A series of fires in the nacelles of four Alstom turbines at two neighbouring wind stations in the northern Spanish region of Navarra are under police investigation.

A regional government statement to the local press said firemen were called out three separate times on the night of November 8, between 20.00h and 22.00h, to tackle the four blazes, all extinguished by the local fire services.

The fires affected two Alstom ECO44-600kW and two ECO48-750kW machines at the 60MW Montes de Cierzo plant in the Tudela district and the 30MW La Bandera plant in Fustiñana, respectively. The affected machines, in operation for over a decade, were separated by several kilometres.

Some insiders place the blame on faults arising from reduced expenditure on operation and maintenance activity (O&M), due to the Spanish government's financial squeeze on wind operators. Suspicions of possible arson linked to layoffs were also expressed.

Alstom and the wind plant owner-developer Enhol decline to comment until police, insurance and technical investigations are complete.

Enhol told Windpower Monthly, however, that although operations at the two plants had been stopped following the fires, the company was now progressively powering up each turbine, following safety checks.

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