NIMBYs have one more argument against wind turbines: reliability. According to this scary-ass article by Spiegel, “thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents hav(e) been reported in recent years…”. Spiegel, by the way, was once deemed by Columbia U as employing the most fact checkers of any news zine, so I don’t have much reason to think this is a hit piece.
We’ve all heard stories about NIMBY neighbors and their skittishness towards wind turbines. They kill birds, cause too much noise, ruin views, and they even attract alien attacks (an obvious nuisance). But, if Spiegel is correct, that new turbines are demonstrably less reliable than previously thought, how can cities guarantee safety?
With people already nervous about the impacts on property values, a lingering folk story about “the turbine the blew up papa’s barn” certainly doesn’t help the industry. How can fears be allayed?
The thought of exploding turbines will surely slow the advances from aggressive climate change and alt-energy advocates. While they push for turbines as safer alternatives to coal, rebuttals are getting stronger. This is one rebuttal that advocates will have serious trouble with.
The Dangers of Wind Power
By Simone Kaiser and Michael Fröhlingsdorf
Wind turbines continue to multiply the world over. But as they grow bigger and bigger, the number of dangerous accidents is climbing. How safe is wind energy?
It came without warning. A sudden gust of wind ripped the tip off of the rotor blade with a loud bang. The heavy, 10-meter (32 foot) fragment spun through the air, and crashed into a field some 200 meters away.
The wind turbine, which is 100 meters (328 feet) tall, broke apart in early November 2006 in the region of Oldenburg in northern Germany — and the consequences of the event are only now becoming apparent. Startled by the accident, the local building authority ordered the examination of six other wind turbines of the same model.
The results, which finally came in this summer, alarmed District Administrator Frank Eger. He immediately alerted the state government of Lower Saxony, writing that he had shut down four turbines due to safety concerns. It was already the second incident in his district, he wrote, adding that turbines of this type could pose a threat across the country. The expert evaluation had discovered possible manufacturing defects and irregularities.
Mishaps, Breakdowns and Accidents
After the industry’s recent boom years, wind power providers and experts are now concerned. The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting.