Windmill Tower Snaps In Half – Crashes Down Across Path

Windmills are subject to cyclic loading, which means even small cracks in the load-bearing structure can grow and eventually lead to catastrophic failure. One catastrophic failure occurred yesterday near the Central German town of Kirtorf, read here (in German). Hat-tip Dirk H.

Many photos here

The tower broke 25 meters up. Investigators are now examining the rubble to deterime the exact cause of the failure. Looking at the detailed photos at the above link, it looks as if the failure occurred where two tower segments are bolted together. Maybe cheap, counterfeit bolts were used. Luckily no one was injured or killed.

The mishap occurred at about 11:30 in the morning at a windpark with 7 turbines. The blades, turbine and upper part of the tower crashed onto a path on the ground, reaching as far as 50 meters away. The debris even struck and destroyed a nearby transformer station. Meanwhile officials have called for a shutdown of 17 other turbines in the area and that they be subjected to a thorough technical inpsection before being allowed to go online.

Other news reports say the turbine was erected 11 years ago and that the maximum windspeed recorded yesterday was 57 km(hr – stormy, but usually a wind speed that windmills have no problems coping with.

Reader Andreas Luft at the first link mentioned above wrote:

I also work on wind turbines. This type here must be a D-Wind system. But I’m familiar with onkly the D6 and D8. This could be a D4.
There are many problems with the towers also in Austria. They too also rust, and there is much corrsion damage at the welds of the steel plates. But I’ve never seen such a material fatigue before.

But the photos don’t show any signs of rust.

17 responses to “Windmill Tower Snaps In Half – Crashes Down Across Path”

  1. ike

    I thought these mills only operate by wind speeds between 10 and 20 km/h??


  2. Nonoy Oplas

    More of this and Germany will also shut down more of its wind farms, like the planned shut down of all nuke plants a few years from now.

    1. DirkH

      No; public opinion here is controlled by Greenpeace, the Green party and the Green MSM. The goal of Greenpeace is to end the nuclear age and stop genetic manipulation – yes they really do mean it. They would have to make a U-turn to be against wind power; and with them the journalistic appendage. This won’t happen – they are mentally inflexible and will always be against nuclear.

      Only when they cease to wield the power here can a new, safer generation of nuclear technology take hold, which will doubtlessly happen.

      Every new technology had its contrarians – the railway, the car, even the electric grid; and the opposition usually lasted one generation.

      The Anti-Nuclear generation stems from the student protests of 1968; their leaders are nearing the end of their political lives. They will cease to be an obstacle in 10 to 15 years.

      1. Bruce Hayden

        Dirk–Your type is the party whose thinking is inflexible. What part of Forever
        don’t you ignorant a——- understand? How you can defend nuclear power after what we are witnessing? And there’s more where that came from! Do you ever get out and enjoy nature–what’s left of it? I didn’t think so….you gave several clues that you are a powermonger in your post. One last thing trollboy-
        the anti-nuclear crowd is not just the hippie generation. It’s made up of every age group. When the hippies die the antinuclear crowd will still be here. Your type makes me puke!

        1. DirkH

          Bruce, i can defend it exactly because not one person died from the consequences of the radioactivity; making a grand total of zero radiation victims at Fukushima. ZERO. One school bus accident or one E Coli outbreak can easily kill 30, as we have seen. So that’s an impressive safety standard. Future nuclear tech will be even safer and more resilient; these were GE Mark 1 reactors, designed in the early 70ies or so. So i’m optimistic that mankind will overcome this rejection.

          Bruce, probably India and China make you puke as well. You must be rather busy puking.

          1. Bruce Hayden

            I guess you don’t count the plant workers who have died, huh? And,
            like Chernobyl, the millions who die a slow death due directly to this fiasco that will not be fixed for several years won’t count either. I suppose you haven’t heard of the children already displaying signs of radiation sickness. The lot of you pro-nuclear shills would be over there cleaning up the mess. You must work for this industry of death.

          2. DirkH

            Bruce, as far as i know, 2 workers died in accidents due to the Earthquake; later one worker dropped dead due to a heart attack. If you have sources for radiation-caused deaths, please provide a link.

            As for the “millions of deaths” due to Chernobyl, please, provide your source. I know of one IAEA study citing a number of 35 deaths; and one Russian study attributing EVERY increased mortality in the time after Chernobyl (even if it was from a cause that cannot be caused by radiation; like say, liver cirrhosis) to the reactor accident, arriving at a number of one million.

            The real number of radiation-caused fatalities at Chernobyl is probably somewhere in between. But Fukushima cannot be compared to Chernobyl, as far less radioisotopes escaped; and were not carried as high into the atmosphere as during the graphite fire at Chernobyl.

            You say that millions will die a slow death due to Fukushima, and that children are showing signs of radiation sickness. I guess you have a source for that as well? Or are you making these numbers up?

            I am not a pro-nuclear shill. I just observe that every new technology had its issues; and that in the long run, technology overcomes these issues and we go from low density power sources to higher density power sources. It’s a painfully slow process, but eventually it happens. Our nuclear reactors of 2050 will have little in common with the GE Mark 1. Maybe they’ll be Thorium reactors; maybe something like the Rossi E-Cat will work, who knows. Someday the opposing forces will turn their attention to something more exciting – like the enemies of technology today don’t protest against electricity or railways anymore. These days their target are nuclear power and genetic manipulation; but over time, their attention will shift to something new.

          3. Ed Caryl

            Calm down. In Japan, two workers died as a result of the Tsunami. They were crushed when the building collapsed. One has since died of a heart attack. Before chernoble, two workers died at a research reactor in Idaho in the early 60’s of radiation. As a result of Chernoble, a reactor that was only a little more sophisticated than the pile of graphite bricks under the bleachers at the U of Chicago, twenty died as a direct result of the radiation. Twenty children got thyroid cancer of which 9 have died. 20,000 MAY die in the future of cancer, if something else doesn’t get them first, such as jaywalking in city traffic.

  3. R. de Haan

    As we are heading into a new Maunder Minimum that according to Prof. Dr. C. de Jager will continue for the remainder of this century the clueless investments in wind farms, bio fuels and other mad green schemes including green taxes will become one of the biggest threats to humanity. The time has come to end this madness. Famine and energy outages, economic decline, riots, civil war and armed conflicts are part of the agenda which is aimed at a reduction of the world population.
    The fact that wind mills break up before the end of their life cycle is a small comfort and underlines how useless this technology really is.

  4. M White

    Thought you might like this

    “John investigates why, when it comes to generating energy from renewable sources like solar panels, Britain is lagging behind many of its European neighbours. He asks why a single solar park in Germany generates more power than all the solar panels in the whole of the UK. Plus he finds that investment in large scale solar parks, in this country, has recently been dealt a blow by a huge cut in subsidies – or ‘feed-in tariffs’. John also asks whether people in other countries are just more open to the idea of generating electricity from renewable sources than we are.”

    This programme has regular stories on “climate change”

    1. DirkH

      The Germans love it because they don’t understand the economic damage; every job in the German renewables sector costs several other jobs and even the jobs in the renewable sector are now threatened because of Chinese competition but not a word in the media – Our media busies itself with publishing “Project Syndicate” (Soros) writers or endlessly demanding more powers for the EU. It’s bizarroland really.

      So, don’t follow our lead just yet. Wait 10 to 15 years; PV should be cheap enough then to be economic if current trends continue. It’s pointless to buy now.

  5. Ulrich Elkmann

    Any form of wind power is unsafe, unreliable, ridiculously inefficient, prone to breakdown, and becomes obsolete as soon as any alternative techology shows up on the horizon – see old windmills (replaced since the high middle ages by water mills) and windjammers. “If wind power were economic then oil tankers would be sailing ships” (Dr. Richard Courtney). This is why this technology has become the epitome of “safe”, “nostalgic”, “romantic” technology. Too bad this is also the reason why there are no longer any ships becoming becalmed in the Horse Latitudes, or picaresque millers (think of Alphonse Daudet or Don Quixote) having to compete with more advanced methods of producing flour – it might teach some few young people immune to green propaganda some basic economic facts.

    1. DirkH

      More funny wind tech. E-Ship 1; Flettner rotors. Allegedly able to save up to 50% of fuel (still needs a conventional drive). Prototype ship paid for by a PV firm.

  6. Billy Liar

    Another possibility.

    If the rotating structure suddenly jammed due to gearbox failure or any other cause then the torque on the pylon could be big enough to cause failure.

    Are windmill structures designed to cope with the rotor suddenly stopping?

  7. Ulrich Elkmann

    Flettner rotors: This was already tried in the 1920s and found to be somewhat wanting (). Note that the Wikipedia entry (and the sources that is based on) are obviously written by partisan believers. Both the Buckau and the Baden-Baden made only their respective maiden voyages using the Flettner rotor; both suffered severe mechanical problems. They were not scrapped at once because Flettner hoped to sell this Hot New Tech to unsuspecting buyers. This was the era of the Rail Zeppelin (another white elephant) and the (flying) Zeppelins (ditto). It was also the time when Fritz Haber (he of the nitrogen fixation process for artificial fertilizer – and poison gas in WWI) tried to extract gold from sea water to pay Germany’s debt after the treaty of Versailles. Roaring Twenties indeed. (nota bene: Hollywood has always recognized that the only use for a Zeppelin is to go down in flames, see ‘Madame Satan’ (Cecil B. de Mille, 1930), “The Hindenburg” (Robert Wise, 1975), “Sky captain and the World of Tomorrow”, Kerry Conran, 2004).

  8. Windmill Breakdown | Cranky Old Crow

    […] Windmill Breakdown […]

  9. NikFromNYC

    is what
    they really
    want to do
    to mountains
    to display the crosses
    and monstrous sunset sunrise flickering shadow fields
    of sacrificial doomsday religion,
    access roads and
    power lines

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