Meretricious: Plausibly significant but actually false and insincere; specious. Also, pretentious, deceptively pleasing but intrinsically rotten. From the Latin

meretrix: a prostitute.

Meretricity: 1. Electricity produced by meretricious machines that seek to convert wind energy into modern power. 2. Electricity subsidized by meretricious politics. See also oxymoron, since wind technology cannot, of itself, produce modern power, and crony capitalism, since wind subsides could not exist without it.

Fire is the second most common accident cause in incidents found. Fire can arise from a number of sources - and some turbine types seem more prone to fire than others. A total of 190 fire incidents were found:
By year:
* To 30 June 2012 only
The biggest problem with turbine fires is that, because of the turbine height, the fire brigade can do little but watch it burn itself out. While this may be acceptable in reasonably still conditions, in a storm it means burning debris being scattered over a wide area, with obvious consequences. In dry weather there is obviously a wider-area fire risk, especially for those constructed in or close to forest areas and/or close to housing or work places. Three fire accidents have badly burned wind industry workers.


Fanning the Flames… What do we really know about wind turbine fires?

By Suzanne Albright

The answer is pretty clear when it comes to fires that make the headlines; impressive videos of fires burning out of control, toxic black smoke filling the sky, burning turbine blades, and other parts shooting through the sky are well documented worldwide. Perhaps the question we should be asking is, “What do we think we know?” 

As it turns out, not too much. According to researchers at the University of Edinburgh, the numbers are grossly underreported by the wind industry. “Researchers carried out a global assessment of the world’s wind farms, which amount to an estimated 200,000 turbines. The team, from Imperial College London, the University of Edinburgh and SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, estimate that more than 117 turbine fires take place each year.”1

Wind industry leaders tend to dispute this information, but there is currently no international regulatory organization requiring them to report turbine accidents and failure. There are, however, various organizations committed to tracking and reporting turbine accidents. Caithness Windfarm Information Forum in Scotland is one such organization. From 2000 through September 30, 2018 (the end of the third quarter of 2018) Caithness has reported 330 turbine fires, including 19 so far in 20182. Although lower than the 117 annually claimed by researchers at Imperial College London, the number is large enough to reinforce the need for regulatory oversight. Caithness derives information from accident reports, insurance documents, and news articles. 

Why is accurate reporting of great importance? 

Public safety. Industrial wind projects are often built in rural communities, on farms leased to wind developers by farmers, to boost their income. Setbacks from homes and other dwellings, property lines, and neighboring homes and properties are determined by local governments (these vary widely around the world). Toxic smoke from burning fiber composite blades, lubricating oils, and other turbine components are detrimental to the health of people and animals. Turbine blades are currently approaching 288 feet in length (again, composed of glass and carbon fiber composite). When older, fiberglass blades burn, they release tiny airborne particles, which are easily inhaled and deposited in the lungs, irritating the capillaries. Over time, this irritation leads to scarring that causes permanent damage. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health cites studies showing that these inhaled particles could damage cellular mechanisms and DNA, which could further promote the growth of cancer cells.3Similar problems arise when disposing of these blades at the end of their lives. Research found that, “Combustion of GFRP (glass fiber reinforced polymer) is especially problematic because it can produce toxic gases, smoke, and soot that can harm the environment and humans. Carbon monoxide and formaldehyde have been reported as residue from thermal degradation of epoxy resin. Another residue is carbon dioxide, which poses concerns regarding greenhouse gas emissions.”4

In California, exploded turbine blade pieces were reported to have flown 4,200 feet. Imagine this scenario with flaming blade debris. Further, due to turbine height, fire brigades are unable to reach the flaming gear boxes, nacelles, and enormous blades. Widespread flaming debris is also difficult to contain. Often, the only option is to stand by and watch these fires burn. 

Destruction of property surrounding the turbine fire is not unusual, especially in dry, windy conditions. An example of this is the famous Australian fire of January 17, 2017; the fire resulted in the destruction of almost 3,400 hectares, or 8,401 acres. Included in the damage was a house, 300 hectares of pasture, 80 hectares of crops, 3 sheds, water tanks, and more. To demonstrate how simply a fire of this magnitude can be started, it was determined that a bird flew into the wind farm high voltage line, caught fire, dropped to the ground, and ignited the spreading fire. 

It’s more common for fires to start in the turbines, due to either electrical or mechanical problems. Electrical causes typically result from transformer and power converter systems that arc around cable terminations made during manufacturing. Other electrical fires result from improper operations and maintenance practices.Mechanical causes are primarily a result of hydraulic brake systems and main shaft bearings that overheat; this tends to occur in high winds, during stormy weather, when the blades spin out of control and the brakes overheat and fail. Lightning strikes are a well-documented fire hazard. Not all lightning strikes ignite turbine fires. However, it’s conceivable that, as turbine bases climb higher and blades grow longer, so does their vulnerability to lightning strikes. The sparking with flammable fluids or vapor clearly poses a fire risk. With more than 80,000 turbines currently in operation5, turbine fires will continue to increase.

The industry has a long way to go in preventing, tracking, and reporting turbine fires. Everyone who lives in the shadows of these giant machines deserves protection to property, livestock, the wildlife, and surrounding fields and meadows. Burned out and rusting turbines not only mar the landscape, but also the reputation of a growing industry.

Suzanne Albright is a Founding Member and Principal of the Great Lakes Wind Truth organization. She is also Executive Member of the group Turbines on Fire.

Turbines on Fire |


2Caithness Windfarm Information Forum 2018

3Jared Paventi, Fiberglass Breathing Danger Effects, Aug. 14, 2017.  



Suzanne Albright Executive Member Turbines on Fire

We welcome Suzanne Albright as Executive Member for Turbines on Fire. Ms. Albright is known for her writing on various wind turbine issues; including the importance of protecting flying creatures while in migration, monarch migration, and the dangers of pollution from turbines. She is also a Founding Member of Great Lakes Wind Truth, and a member of the North American Platform Against Wind.


Image result for picture of turbines on fire

See her article here regarding flying creatures Lake Erie.




AUSTRALIAN FIRE 2018: looking back at a huge loss, almost 3400 hectares,

Image result for picture of wind turbine fire currandooley au

  January 16, 2018 • Australia

Currandooley fire’s first anniversary sparks reflection  

Credit:  Currandooley fire impacts linger one year later | Louise Thrower | Goulburn Post | January 16 2018 | ~~

The green tinge on pastures can be deceptive out past Tarago.

Beneath the grass on which stock are grazing again lie layers of ash. Beside the road, trees carry the black scars from the massive Currandooley fire a year ago.

On January 17, 2017, now dubbed ‘tinderbox Tuesday’ by locals, a blaze sparked at Infigen’s Capital Wind Farm on Taylors Creek Road, ripped through almost 3400 hectares, over the Bungendore Road, on to Mount Fairy and down to Boro.

It destroyed a house, about 3000ha of pasture, 80ha of crops, 150km of fencing, 10.5km of windbreaks, three sheds, water tanks a large set of cattle yards and damaged other farm infrastructure, Local Land Services later revealed.

The RFS found that a bird striking the wind farm’s high voltage power line caught alight, dropped to the ground and set off the fire.

One year on, the day remains fresh in the minds of many. Some gathered at Tim De Mestre’s home, Merigan, 14km from Tarago on the Bungendore Road on Tuesday night for a catch up and reflection. Mr De Mestre’s 950ha property was the worst affected with most of his pasture burnt, along with 4000 pines and 3000 natives planted as windbreaks, a large oat crop and 30km of fencing.

Dr Michael Crawford was one of the people attending Tuesday’s get together.

Speaking on Monday, the Tarago district resident said while people had got on with their lives, in some cases it had caused “significant disruption.”

“They’ve lost fences and stock and it all takes time to replace which otherwise would have been spent living their lives rather than recreating it,” he said.

“There are people who have suffered materially, including one who lost a house and precious mementos that will never be recovered.”

Dr Crawford said anger lingered about the alleged cause and it was not a “forgive or forget thing.”

Infigen has denied any liability. A spokesman previously told The Post the company would cooperate with any future inquiry.

The NSW Coroner’s office is yet to formally decide whether to hold an inquiry. Police and RFS investigations have been forwarded to the office for consideration. Goulburn MP Pru Goward also called for such an inquiry last year.

A spokesman for the Coroner’s office said the matter was listed for callover on March 27.

Meantime, Dr Crawford says one of the main issues is what the RFS and State Government is “doing or not doing about wind farms.”

“There is a real question about how fireprone wind farms are to areas,” he said.

“There is research to show that the atmosphere close to the ground (near windfarms) changes temperature, bringing down warmer air and affecting moisture content in vegetation growth.

“…It’s reason to ask the RFS and government, ‘what have you done to understand the effect of wind farms on fire risk’. I’ve lodged a (freedom of information) request on this but have had no response but I expect they’ll say they’ve done nothing.”

Dr Crawford argues it’s incumbent on authorities to absorb this research and inform the community if there is an enhanced fire risk.

Some 38 landowners have joined a class action mounted by Warrnambool-based, Maddens Lawyers. Partner Brendan Pendergast said the firm was claiming in a Supreme Court action that the high voltage line’s design and configuration “gave rise to the ongoing problem of bird strike and that there were other incidents of birds being incinerated at the site.”

It is also claiming that greater vegetation control, implemented by Infigen after the fire, could have mitigated the risk.

Mr Pendergast said the amount claimed by the litigants was confidential at this stage.

“A significant number of people had their lives profoundly impacted both personally and with their enjoyment of the land and farming operations,” he said.

“One particular impact was the loss of amenity on beautiful rural lifestyle properties and complete stands of vegetation wiped out.

“It completely changed the landscape and it’s very difficult to get through that and look to the future.”

Mr Pendergast said some effects, such as erosion and dam siltation, had only become apparent after the fire.

While some of those affected were coping well, others had suffered psychologically.

“The financial impact is something that will take years to recover from. There are people in this action who are struggling,” he said.

The matter is listed for mediation before former Federal Court judge Ray Finkelstein on February 6 in Melbourne. The previous December mediation date was vacated.

The session is a compulsory step in the process and is designed to reach a resolution before trial.

Local Land Services’

One year on, South East Local Land Services is also reflecting on its role.

Delivery support team manager Ken Garner said LLS undertook initial animal welfare and land management assessment, fodder drops and supported those affected and the wider community through a town hall meeting at Tarago with numerous support agencies present.

Asked if LLS had taken any experiences from the event, Mr Garner said it had been a good learning curve.

“We had a relatively new team in place and this was the first major fire we’d participated in,” he said.

“…This was a good test for the organisation and I believe we responded well with people on the ground early, responding to animal welfare etc and providing a good conduit to other organisations like BlazeAid, welfare and Community Health organisations.”

But he said managing and distributing donated fodder was something new and LLS had taken some lessons away.

“People are desperate at that time and you have to prioritise and match it to people’s requirements,” Mr Garner said.

Up at ‘Merigan,’ Mr De Mestre is still counting the cost of losing core breeding stock and kilometres of fencing.

The grass has come back but some windbreaks and grand old oak trees remain in a precarious state.


Source:  Currandooley fire impacts linger one year later | Louise Thrower | Goulburn Post | January 16 2018 |


Image result for maine university turbine fire picture


Wind Turbine Fires Signal End of Land-Based Wind Turbines
Posted by Long Islander on April 5, 2018 at 7:48pm

Hanover, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Presque Isle, Maine have all seen dramatic wind turbine fires in the last few weeks.

The obvious challenge facing firefighters is the height involved if a fire occurs in the turbine motor.

Due to the risk of falling fire debris over a wide area, approaching a burning turbine …is usually not an option unless there is a life risk involved. If the turbine is turning, power is being generated and an electrocution hazard will be present.

Typically, a good option for firefighters to consider is to evacuate any endangered areas, set up a collapse zone, and attempt to control any ground fires to prevent the fire from spreading to other units.

In the case of a runaway or over-speed event, rotating turbines can throw debris thousands of feet away during a blade failure. Pieces of blades have been documented in California as traveling over 4,200 feet. Distance and time will fix this problem.

Pre-incident planning and Standard Operation Procedure development are keys to success for safely handling this unique danger.

Between 2005 and 2009 the news media and politicians touted commercial land-based wind turbines. Today your not going to read about the ongoing health, financial fiasco and now mechanical breakdowns resulting in massive fires. The blades can weigh up to seven tons each.

The residents who live near turbines in Falmouth, Massachusetts don’t have fires but have reported problems such as sleep disruption, headaches, vertigo, and nausea. Today residents world wide report the same conditions. The wind industry would have you believe these people world-wide all got together like Hollywood actors making up the same story worldwide for the last eight years ?

Proponents of wind energy admit the turbines do make noise regulatory measured in decibels and infrasound a low-frequency noise called a nuisance or human annoyance. In 2011 the Chief Executive Officer of Vestas wind company CEO Engel Ditlev wrote a letter to Karen Ellemann about low frequency noise. The CEO responded that Vestas does not have the technology to stop the noise. The Town of Falmouth owns two Vestas V-82 type 1.65 megawatt wind turbines that produce up to 110 decibels of chest pounding noise.

The Falmouth, Massachusetts local town Zoning Board of Appeals decided the wind turbines are a nuisance and in June of 2017 Barnstable Superior Court Judge Cornelius Moriarty issued the order to shut down Falmouth’s town-owned Wind 1 and Wind 2.

Here is the video of the most recent wind turbine fire in Presque Isle, Maine –April 1, 2018


The University of Maine at Presque Isle Wind turbine on fire

Published on Apr 2, 2018

Wind Turbine Accidents – Slideshow

Wind Turbine Accidents

Steimke Wettendorf Obernholz 04.02.2011

Burning Wind Turbine in Portugal

That looks like a very expensive fire, good thing they didn’t sustain casualties from falling debris.

InvEnergy California Ridge Windfarm Turbine Failure

November 21, 2013


InvEnergyEarly this morning, there was a wind turbine failure at the California Ridge Wind Farm just north of Oakwood, Illinois near the Newtown Middle School location.

What we do know at this time is that blade debris was thrown an unknown distance InvEnergy2from the turbine, and residents described the incident as “sounded like loud thunder” and “sounded like two trains crashing”. Witnesses also state that the incident shook their whole house, somewhat similar to an earthquake.

InvEnergy workers are on site and have cleaned the debris from the surrounding field, dragging it up to the base of the turbine.

A few days ago during the power outage on November 18, 2013 caused by strong storms, InvEnergy did not have had a plan for lighting the tower safety warning lights (not lit or flashing during power outages), or that plan miserably failed this time.  The warning lights were inoperative from 5 PM till 9 PM.

This power outage and subsequent failure of the warning light system could have resulted in airplanes not seeing the turbines and crashing in to them. Thankfully that did not happen, but it is a subject that needs to be immediately addressed.

160-foot blade breaks off western NY wind turbine

November 18, 2013

ORANGEVILLE, N.Y. — A 160-foot-long blade has broken off a turbine at a western New York wind farm, but no injuries resulted from its plummet to the ground.

Hunters tell WIVB in Buffalo ( ) that it sounded like a cannon or thunderclap when the turbine blade broke off around 7 a.m. Sunday at the Orangeville Wind Farm in Wyoming County. They said they were about a half mile away.

Alissa Kinsky, a spokeswoman for in Invenergy wind power company, said the turbine blade broke during testing. The turbine is one of 58 installed at the wind farm last month.

Kinsky said all turbine operations have been suspended as a precaution and the company is working with General Electric, the turbine manufacturer, to determine what caused the accident.


Taming Turbine Fires Before They Start: It’s when, not if…

Author: Scott Starr
Volume: May/June 2011

According to reports, the cost of a fire that damages or destroys a wind turbine can be as much as $2 million. Property damage to the turbine, and nearby areas, from fires reported in the past decade ranged between $750,000 and $6 million.

Aside from the imminent hazards of a burning turbine, there is also the risk of sparks, embers, or debris falling to the ground and setting off a wildfire due to the remote location of many wind farms. Even if a turbine is not fully burned or damaged, or a potential fire doesn’t spread to the surrounding countryside, costs can be considerable. This was shown during a recent fire at a wind farm in California, which resulted in the loss of just one converter cabinet. Cost for replacement: $243,000, including parts and downtime.

Although the financial loss and costs of a fire might be the primary concern of any wind farm operator, pressures are building up from environmental groups and the concerned public in general. Turbine fires—and, particularly those that spread—should be a significant concern, affecting the planning stages of any project. To this avail, permitting might be more drawn-out, costly, and time-consuming process. Turbine manufacturers and wind farm operators are now, more than ever, becoming acutely aware of the costs, safety, and the environmental arguments in favor of effective fire detection and suppression. But what are the fire risks associated with wind turbines?

Technical equipment and combustible material are concentrated in the nacelle and, once a fire starts in a turbine, it can be fuelled by up to 200 gallons of hydraulic fluid and lubricants. The nacelle itself is constructed from highly flammable resin and glass fiber, and internal insulation can become contaminated by oil deposits, adding to the overall fuel load.

The most common cause of a turbine fire is a lightning strike—a risk that is heightened by the installation of taller and taller wind turbines. Turbines are now being built that are up to 320 feet high. They’re frequently sited in exposed and high-altitude locations. Globally, there are around 16 million lightning storms and approximately 1.4 billion lightning flashes every year. However, only 25% of these are cloud-to-ground (the remainder are either cloud-to-cloud or intra-cloud); yet, this still equates to the US being hit by between 15 million and 20 million ground strikes a year, according to the Colorado-based National Lightning Safety Institute.

The consequences can be judged from the following example. Recently, a wind turbine caught fire as a result of a lightning strike. Burning parts of the rotor blade, which had been struck, fell and caused a secondary fire in the nacelle—all at a cost of $200,000 and 150 days lost operation.

Mechanical failure or electrical malfunction can also trigger a fire as capacitors, transformers, generators, electrical controls, transmission equipment, and SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems all have the potential to catch fire. This risk is amplified when there are loose or broken electrical connections, or there is an overloading of electrical circuits. Braking systems pose a particularly high risk of fire. Overheating can cause hot fragments of the disc brake material to break off, rupturing hydraulic hoses, and resulting in the highly combustible hydraulic fluid being expelled under pressure and coming into contact with the hot disk brake fragments. Hydraulic pumps and connections can also fail, allowing the fluid to erupt into flames when it comes into contact with a hot surface.

A case in point was a fire where a slip-ring fan of a double-fed induction generator broke. Sparks were generated by the rotating fan impeller, which set the filter cabinet’s filter pad alight. The fire then spread to the hood installation, causing $800,000 worth of damage.

With the fire risk becoming greater as more turbines come into operation, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has added wind turbine and outbuilding fire protection standards to NFPA 850 (“Recommended Practice for Fire Protection for Electric Generating Plants and High Voltage Direct Current Converter Stations;” 2010 Edition). This provides fire protection recommendations for the safety of construction and operating personnel, physical integrity of plant components, and the continuity of plant operations. The revised 2010 edition includes detailed recommendations relating to wind turbine generating facilities.

Wind farms are usually built in isolated locations with restricted access, placing them beyond the prospect of immediate attention by the fire service. Even when emergency services are able to respond quickly, few have the equipment capable of firefighting at the height of modern wind turbines. The solution is an effective fire detection and suppression system. Such a system should be intrinsically safe, not require any external power that can fail or put the system out of operation, and it needs to be able to stop a fire precisely where it breaks out before it can do irreparable damage to the turbine or spread elsewhere. It also needs to be purpose-designed to contend with the vibration, dust, debris, airflow through the nacelle, and the extreme temperature variations. An effective system also has to be capable of providing 24/7 unsupervised wind farm protection.

Wind farm fires do happen, and many in the industry suspect that they occur far more frequently than statistics suggest. This is because a significant number of turbine fires go unreported due to their remote location. Emergency services are not always involved and there are no regulatory requirements to report related fire incidents. Hardly surprising, many insurers are becoming increasingly concerned, and the opinion of many can been summed-up by the following statement: “Fire. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.” Better safe than sorry.

Scott Starr is the director of marketing at Scottsdale, Arizona-based Firetrace International.