Blade thrown into public road

Vestas is investigating the cause of another blade failure, this time relating to an incident in the Netherlands. Echoing events in Denmark earlier this year (Windpower Monthly, April 2008), a 23 metre blade came off an eight-year-old V47 660 kW machine installed at Windpark Tuitjenhorn in the province of Noord-Holland. During the failure, which occurred on May 13 at 10 pm, a section of the blade landed on the nearby N245 road between the villages of Oudkarspel and Dirkshorn in the community of Harenkarspel. With the road quiet at that time of night, no one was hurt, but the road was closed for some time.

"We are very glad there has not been any personal harm," says Jaap van Hofwegen of Vestas. The company is conducting a full investigation into the failure and "has decided not to speculate on the cause at this time," he says. The incident is unrelated to recent blade failures in Denmark, Sweden and Scotland, he says. Human error and poor servicing were blamed for those. This is the first time there has been a problem with this model in Holland, says Van Hofwegen.

The failed turbine at Windpark Tuitjenhorn is one of eight V47s at the site, all of which are to be replaced with larger Enercon E53/800 turbines in July. The other seven units were shut down immediately after the incident as a precaution and will not be started again until the cause of the failure is known. "There is no reason to think there is a defect on any other V47s," Van Hofwegen says. Other V47s installed in Holland are continuing to operate as normal. Vestas hopes to have concluded its investigation into the cause of the failure within a month.

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