Wind Farms Keep Being Wiped Out By Wild Weather: Tornadoes and Turbines Don’t Mix
These things are meant to save us from a changing climate but, when the weather turns wild, they can barely save themselves. 50-60m long blades, weighing in at 20 tonnes each, are usually the first item to be shredded and thrown in all directions (the wind industry uses the neutral term “component liberation”).
Then, if serious breezes persist, the whole kit and caboodle hits the dirt; which means all three of those 20-tonne blades join the 90-tonne nacelle (which houses the gearbox and generator) in an exhilarating 100m freefall.
When the wind goes beyond gale force, you can forget about receiving any meaningful electricity. Indeed, wind speeds barely need to reach gale force and these things go into automatic shutdown, as appears on German turbine maker, Siemen’s website – which has this to say about the automatic shutdown of wind turbines when wind speeds hit 25m/s (90km/h):
Nature presents us with different kinds of challenges. High wind can create extremely high loads, and as a result wind turbines are normally programmed to shut down if the 10-minute mean wind speed exceeds 25 m/s. This may pose a significant challenge for the grid system – for example, if turbines in large wind farms shut down simultaneously.
It was precisely that feature of their ‘design’ that led to South Australia’s Statewide blackout on 28 September 2016.
When Texans were walloped by Hurricane Harvey, in September 2017, their fleet of whirling winders did likewise. Despite having the largest wind power capacity in the USA, it was nuclear power that supplied Texans with the electricity they needed throughout the tempest and deluge: its wind power fleet automatically shutdown, going into self-preservation mode, while its nuclear generation plant never missed a beat.
Also in September 2017, Hurricane Maria, belted Peurto Rico and turned thousands of solar panels into useless shattered piles of glass and twisted aluminium, and destroyed hundreds of wind turbines – blades were shredded and thrown for miles – see the video above for a taste of the aftermath.
And while a full-scale hurricane might take out dozens, if not hundreds, of turbines in its wake, the localised destruction of a Texan tornado is not to be sneezed at, either.
Texas tornado takes down wind turbines
25 March 2022
The wind was too strong.
Meteorologist Payton Malone shared a photo on social media that shows the impact a Texas tornado had on several wind turbines this week.
Texas reported 18 tornados this week as a line of storms pushed through and apparently, one of the tornados in North Texas took out the turbines.
As you can see here, the turbines were no match for winds that were estimated to be well over 130 mph.https://www.youtube.com/embed/wFaZaoPOIig?version=3&rel=0&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&start=88&wmode=transparent
For the last couple of years, a hot debate on social media has been the use of wind turbines when it comes to producing energy.
Well, this photo here won’t help the argument that we can solely rely on the turbines for the production of energy.
Many have already questioned what would happen to them if they were placed in the gulf while. a hurricane sweeps across it. Sorry, I don’t have the answer here.