Germany’s “Ticking Time Bombs”…Technical Experts Say Wind Turbines Posing “Significant Danger” To Environment!

As much of Germany’s nearly 30,000 strong fleet of wind turbines approach 20 or more years in age, the list of catastrophic collapses is growing more rapidly. The turbines are now being viewed by technical experts as “ticking time bombs”.

Wind turbine recently burned after being hit by lightning. Image: Wasili Karbe, cropped from video here.

According to a commentary by Daniel Wetzel of online German Daily ‘Die Welt’, the aging rickety wind turbines are poorly inspected and maintained and thus are now posing a huge risk.

Over the past months alone there’s been a flurry of reports over wind turbines failing catastrophically and collapsing to the ground, e.g. see here, here and here.

As the older turbines age, their components and electronic control systems are wearing out and beginning to gravely malfunction. And according to Wetzel, these turbines are not even subject to strict technical monitoring by Germany’s TÜV (Technical Inspection Association), which provides inspection and product certification services.

In Germany industrial systems are required to regularly undergo technical inspections and approvals in order to ensure that they operate safely. However wind turbines are exempt from this strict requirement and so many wind park operators are neglecting to properly inspect, maintain and repair the systems, which is costly. And so it surprises no one that the aging turbines are beginning to fail catastrophically.

As a result, the TÜV is calling for turbines to be treated like any other industrial system, and be required to undergo rigorous inspections as well, Wetzel writes.

In 2016, near in the region of Paderborn, a 100-tonne turbine and its rotors plunged to the earth. The turbine was nearly 20 years old.

“Razor-sharp shards” threat to grazing animals

In another case, earlier this year, near Bochern, Wetzel reports, a brakeless 115-meter tall turbine spun wildly out of control before “two of the 56-meter blades “ripped to shreds ‘in a cloud of glass, plastic and fill material’.”

“Razor-sharp fiberglass shards flew 800 meters,” the Westfalen Blatt reported.

The debris from exploded turbine now poses a threat to the environment. The sharp fiberglass pieces injure grazing animals, says the Hanover School of Veterinary Medicine. “For cattle they can even perforate the stomach.”

Hazard to ground water

Another hazard comes from the hundreds of liters of transmission oil the turbines that seep into the groundwater. Moreover the huge reinforced concrete foundations require tremendous energy for their manufacture and they penetrate deep into the ground, which adversely effects soil and groundwater.

Growing list of disasters

The number of wind turbine disasters is mounting, reports Wetzel. Wind energy opposition group Vernunftkraft keeps a list, which has grown to be pages long. But the German Association of Wind Energy (Bundesverband Windenergie) downplays the incidents, calling them “isolated cases”.

Dealing with “ticking time bombs”

Yet the situation has in reality grown so serious that TÜV is now urgently calling for rigorous inspections and regulations in order to assure operational safety.  TÜV expert Dieter Roas says that we dealing with “ticking time bombs.”

Wetzel writes that many turbines are now approaching their 20-25 year lifetimes and that extending their operating time should require technical approval.

The technical and structural integrity of the turbines in most cases is completely unknown.

TÜV expert Roas warns: “Here we are dealing with significant dangers”.

(Be sure to follow NTZ at Twitter)

32 responses to “Germany’s “Ticking Time Bombs”…Technical Experts Say Wind Turbines Posing “Significant Danger” To Environment!”

  1. SebastianH

    As much of Germany’s nearly 30,000 strong fleet of wind turbines approach 20 or more years in age

    I wonder if you do make up these sentences just as you go without thinking or if you deceive your readership on purpose.

    It can’t be many wind turbines that are currently reaching an age of 20 years or more. Why? Because 80% of the fleet was installed in the last 16 years and 50% of the fleet in the last 6 to 7 years.

    P.S.: I liked it better when you were just a fan of the Kaltesonne guys. Let’s hope this Wetzler “veteran” retires soon.

    The only thing that doesn’t sound sensationalist:

    Wetzel writes that many turbines are now approaching their 20-25 year lifetimes and that extending their operating time should require technical approval.

    As should be the case with any large industrial machine. We don’t let cars drive around without inspections, we should let other large machines with moveable parts go without inspection. But I can’t be “many” turbines or as you wrote it “much of the fleet”. Again, we are on an expontential growth path … “much” of the fleet has only been build very recently.

    1. AndyG55

      As the turbines age, (20% now over 16 years old), they will start to die.

      20% is a LOT of turbines, wouldn’t you agree, seb. 😉

      They will either need removing, (very costly to someone)
      although they will probably leave most of the concrete and reinforcement in the ground…

      or re-manufacturing on there present towers (why would anyone bother doing that with old tech, particularly as the towers would need to be inspected for micro fatigue etc. (even more costly)

      Who is going to provide the subsidies to do these things ??

      It is noted that seb doesn’t give a crap about any of the environmental damage done by these monstrosities.

      They are not near, him, so it doesn’t matter.

    2. Charlie

      Now that subsidies are ending, they will burn-out in the next couple of decades and be replaced by natural gas. The green frenzy has ended.

    3. David Guy-Johnson

      And meanwhile, James Hansen who kicked off the climate scare 30 years ago say, and I quote “The notion that renewable energies and batteries alone will provide all needed energy is fantastical. It is also a grotesque idea, because of the staggering environmental pollution from mining and material disposal, if all energy was derived from renewables and batteries. Worse, tricking the public to accept the fantasy of 100 percent renewables means that, in reality, fossil fuels reign and climate change grows”.

  2. Bitter&twisted

    Another hidden subsidy (exemption from TUV) for the windscammers.
    This fraud gets more brazen every day.

    1. Penelope

      Bitter&twisted, here’s another hidden subsidy for you:

      In CA Redevelopment Agency is the only agency that can float bonds to indebt the people without a vote. General Funds of towns are also put into the Redevelopment Agency by 30 year agreement.

      Redevelopment Agency then condemns any part of town as unsustainable & private developers build more highrise eggcrates for rural people being dispossessed by incredible rules that prevent them actually using their property.

  3. Jim

    By now, have anyone studied the downwind weather modifications produced by wind capturing? Just as downstream dams produce a backup, the same happens with placing a turbine in the path if the wind. The air pressure is greater prior to the fan blades. Producing a ” low ” zone after the fan. How does this affect the weather after the farm? Now add five hundred in the region, does the weather move? Does the jet stream move the weather around the area, I have seen no studies on the weather’s modifications created.

    1. Yonason

      Yes. It can’t not have an effect.

      The only comments i’ve seen about the effect, though, is that the further downstream you go, the less energy is available to those turbines. Called the “wake effect” it can result in losses of up to around 50% efficiency for the downstream turbines. But I have no doubt wind farms are being adequately compensated for their losses. Consumers, not so much.

  4. mwhite

    “Scottish wildcats are facing extinction after it emerged that 30 per cent of the species could be wiped out by a wind farm expansion.”

    or not

  5. John F. Hultquist

    . . . and they penetrate deep into the ground, which adversely effects soil and groundwater.

    This seems unlikely. One needs to know about the design of the tower’s foundation.

    Some towers have a foundation that relies on “resistance” [deeper and anchored in bedrock]. Others have a foundation that relies on weight, “Gravity Design.”
    Some I know of are about 4.25 meters in diameter with steel anchor bolts in the bedrock, up to 9.75 m down.
    Gravity type are less deep, but wider and heavier.

    A multi-story building will have a more impactful footprint.


    The question of “many” and “much” reminds me of trying to know what folks mean when they say “a couple.”
    Consider: a couple of seconds, a couple of km., or a couple with green shirts.
    We have a set of sayings.
    If it moves, but shouldn’t – use duct tape.
    If it doesn’t move, but should – use 3-in-1 oil.

    After “a couple” of years of operation, wind facilities likely need both.

  6. RickWill

    Unrenewable ambient energy, intermittent power generators – to appease the climate gods.

  7. Steve

    I’ve had a fan in my place for 40 yrs …no problem, just have to clean the blades every now and then.
    Its called maintenance.!

  8. Richard Bystrak

    So how is efficiency of these turbines rated after a million dollar cost on damage & cleanup for a large turbine? How? Total loss on ‘renewable energy theory’. Let me add this to the mix. Solar panels are another panacea yet to be proven efficient. How much reflected heat do you think a billion solar panels send back to atmosphere? Do you think it’s same as if panels were grass? Reflected heat not evaluated yet!

    1. John Farnham
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  11. Energy^2

    In late 2017, a new thesis in thermodynamics was published postulating “No device can produce energy in excess of the total energy put into constructing it”, owing to wear and tear internal to matter.

    This also can be understood as “Energy always comes from the past into the future” and “Humans can not manufacture Energy”;

    1. Penelope

      Energy, you say “In late 2017, a new thesis in thermodynamics was published postulating “No device can produce energy in excess of the total energy put into constructing it”, owing to wear and tear internal to matter.”

      Certainly energy can’t be lost or created, but I would doubt the hypothesis given. Our advancing technological economy seems to give it the lie.

      More concretely, take a small tribal group in which the 10 women wove all the clothes by hand. Even if one recalled, from contact w a more advanced group, how to make a simple weaving machine which required only the materials at hand, it might very well take her too many woman-hours to debug it.

      However in a larger group, the simple device would and was built and then improved upon. Clearly it replaced more labor than it cost to build.

      When we add sources of energy outside of mere muscles, like the burning of “fossil” fuels the labor-saving effect is multiplied many times.

      If “work performed” is the measure of “energy” in the hypothesis cited, then surely it cannot be correct. It sounds like yet another Green argument to get rid of our stuff and live like the innocent moles & squirrels.

      I’m not yet ready to throw out the division of labor or economies of scale. Since the proposition mentions “wear and tear internal to matter” it’s doubtless “proven” by some mathematical construct. But the certainty of math is bought at the loss of empirical evidence.

      1. spike55

        When we use coal, we are not creating energy or CO2

        We are using stored solar energy from millions of years ago.

        Releasing sequestered carbon back into the Carbon Cycle where it belongs, enhancing the atmospheric plant food.


        spike55 (aka AG55)

      2. Yonason (from a friend's comp)

        It’s redundant, as you seem to be saying. Conservation of energy is all you need. That “thesis” adds nothing.

  12. Val Nartin

    I have studied the Machinery Directive and transposing legislation into the law of member states and I can find no provision exempting industrial wind turbines in any of it. Nachines/Turbines must carry the CE mark (none do). Does anyone know how they are legally exempt?

    If they are not exempt, they are breaking the law

  13. Yonason


    in order to get bait for fishing, we used to insert a pitchfork into the ground and by pulling back the handle and letting go, cause it to vibrate. After a few repetitions, worms would start coming out of the ground. After we collected what we thought were enough for the fishing trip, we’d set them aside in a container with some dirt.

    The point is that earthworms, which are responsible for breakdown of organic matter and aeration of the soil, do not like vibration. It would s bound to impact them, and therefore the ground they live in.

    Also, concrete causes an el cation in the pH of the soil near it, which can have a noticeable effect on plants growing nearby.

    Those are just two ways in which the turbines can impact local fauna and flora.

  14. Penelope

    How very interesting. Earthworms don’t like vibration. I would think that ants wd be adversely affected by the windmills, too. Here’s why.

    Take two potted plants sitting on a table, up to about a yard apart, and pour water into one. You see what you expect in the watered one: The ants become hysterically active, crawling up the plant and the container to avoid drowning. The inexplicable part is that the ants in the dry container do the same thing– lagging by only an instant.

    Presumably they’re using some part of the emf spectrum inaudible to us. Could such a communication survive in soil full of vibration and air filled with various species of waves said to sicken humans even at a distance? It’s probable that ants use this communication for a variety of ant-tasks.

    1. Yonason

      I don’t know about emf in ants. But I do know they communicate via pheromones and other chemical signals. Some trees do, as well. When something starts munching on the leaves of one tree, chemicals are released that trigger surrounding trees to increase levels of bad tasting or toxic substances in their leaves as a deterrent.

      Oh, and here’s one I didn’t know about. They can even alert birds to the presence of insects eating their leaves!

      Thanks for bringing it up and getting me to learn something new.

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  17. Dr. A. Cannara

    Wind/solar depend on gas/coal/oil for dirty backup, so are simply unethical to promote & install. But, hey, subsidies vs ethics!

    There is also no such thing as “renewable energy”, if one recalls science class and “conservation of energy”, but hey! Subsidies vs science!

    And here’s how ‘renewables’ boosters exploit and even endanger average folks…

    Yes, some people died because of power loss.

    The ‘renewables’ biz is as anti-science and unethical as any of the Trump ‘termites’ in our govt. today.

    Our descendants rightly expect more.

    1. Yonason

      “dirty backup” ?
      True, nuclear is probably optimal, but American fossile fuel plants are as clean as they get. Prosperity and a clean environment go hand in hand.

      “Trump ‘termites’.” ?
      You prefer maybe Obama?

      While I agree with your assessment of “renewables,” I can’t help but be puzzled by your gratuitous attacks on solutions to the problem and those who are honestly seeking to implement those solutions.

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