Niall McMahon

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Implications of a V52 Failure

2013-03-29

Niall McMahon

Last Friday, a Vestas V52 fell down in Donegal. This is the same type of machine as the campus wind turbine at DkIT. The wind speeds were estimated to have been about 25 m/s; these are fresh gales. The V52 has a long history with more than 3700 units deployed worldwide. When installed and maintained correctly, the V52 is designed to withstand wind speeds more than two and a half times greater than those reported, i.e. to tolerate wind speeds of 70 m/s. As a comparison, hurricane force winds begin somewhere around 33 m/s. All modern wind turbines comply with stringent international standards, in particular the IEC 61400-1/-2 design standards. This incident in Donegal was very unusual; collapses are very rare. Take a read through this list of wind turbine failures.

For these reasons, pending further information, I have no worries about the campus wind turbine. I will, of course, wait for news from Vestas, the manufacturer. Any thoughts about the cause of the Donegal failure are speculations until the investigation finishes. I might post an update when there's more information.

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