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Probe underway after fire destroys Senvion turbine in UK

Innogy – the renewables subsidiary of Germany’s RWE – has launched an investigation into the cause of a fire which destroyed one of the turbines at its 16MW Knabs Ridge onshore wind farm near Harrogate in northeast England.

A spokesman for Innogy Renewables UK told Recharge as a result of the incident – involving one of eight turbines at Knabs Ridge – the fire service was called out by on-site personnel on 6 January, 2017.  The nacelle was completely burnt out in the incident.

“There have been no injuries as a result of the incident.  An investigation has been launched to established the cause,” said Innogy in a statement.

The company said four of the eight turbines on the wind farm were still operating as normal,  although three that are linked on the same circuit as the damaged one remain turned off as a precaution.

Turbine fires – a burning issue for the industry

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A Senvion spokeswoman said it had a team at the site working with Innogy Renewables UK to undertake a full investigation.  “We cannot provide any further comment whilst the investigation is underway,” she said.

Each turbine at Knabs Ridge, which started generating in 2008, is a Senvion MM70 2MW model.

According to renewables insurer GCube, there are roughly 50 turbine fires every year globally – one for every 6,000 machines – and the problem is growing and getting more expensive.

A 2015 GCube study, entitled Towering Inferno,  found that while turbine fires remain a relative rarity, they are costing the industry around $225m a year.

However,  the industry is adamant that the highly emotive images of catastrophic fires paints a false picture of the seriousness of the issue.

“In relative terms the number of fires in the wind industry is not that significant,” according to Chris Streatfeild, RenewableUK’s director of health & safety.

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Turbine fires cost $225m a year and provide fuel for anti-wind media

Turbine fires cost the wind industry $225m a year, renewables underwriter GCube reports.

18 Nov 2015

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