Historic 3 MW toppled at Burgar Hill

The world's first multi-megawatt sized wind turbine came crashing to the ground in November in a controlled explosion. The experimental 3 MW machine had stood at Burgar Hill in Orkney to the far north of Britain since 1987. It had two blades and a concrete tower and was designed and built by the Wind Energy Group -- a joint venture between British Aerospace, GEC and Taylor Woodrow. Although the project demonstrated that a large scale wind turbine could perform in the extreme conditions to be found on Orkney, the machine had not operated since May 1997. It was deemed not economic to repair and thus scheduled for destruction. Around 100 spectators gathered to see the demolition of this familiar local landmark, but not all were happy to see it go. According to local newspaper, the Orcadian, the local authority had been asked to retain the turbine because of its historical significance. Wind energy, meantime, continues to thrive at Burgar Hill. Danish NEG Micon, which took over the Wind Energy Group, has built two wind turbines on site -- a 2 MW unit which it intends to use in offshore wind plant and a 1.5 MW turbine. And in November a Nordex 1.3 MW machine -- owned by TXU Europe -- was commissioned there too.