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Why storm winds turned wind turbine into a fireball

• newscientist.com
  In December 2011, a wind turbine at the coastal town of Ardrossan in the UK spectacularly exploded during a storm. Pictures of the flaming debris shower flashed across global media, triggering claims that turbines cannot cope in extreme weather.

But Infinis, the operator of the wind farm, claims in a report into the incident just published that the turbines should be able to withstand such conditions if new safety measures are put in place. The report says winds that day reached 176 kilometres per hour, forcing the turbine blades – locked in position because of the hurricane-force winds – to turn against their brake pads. The friction this created resulted in extremely high temperatures.

When wind speeds reach 88 km/h turbine blades of wind turbines are usually twisted, or "feathered", so that they no longer intercept airflow properly and they stop turning.

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