As you can see in the above image, a wind turbine in Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, Scotland exploded on December 8th, when the area was battered by winds of up to 260km/h, thanks to an Atlantic storm roaring through areas of northern UK. Damage is to be expected in such storms, but why did it explode? That for now remains a mystery.
The video below shows the fans turning in the wind before the actual fire. It’s clear that it is having problems. No one seems to know exactly what happened yet, but wind turbines normally shut down when winds reach 55 mph. So why didn’t it shut down? New Scientist speculates that it may have to do with extra current in the generator, which in turn may have started a fire. However, that is just speculation at this point. And it is far from the first time this has happened. A quick Youtube search reveals that much. Clearly the design that these turbines use needs to be seriously re-examined.
Normally they would ‘feather’ the turbine blades so they do not turn and get damaged, while the turbines go into idle mode. They are currently investigating the situation and the site has been disconnected from the grid in the meantime. It’s important to get to the root of the problem so that other turbines don’t suffer the same fate. They also have to think about those living close to the turbines as this accident had large fiery pieces of the turbine flying off.
To me it looks like it exploded due to static. Same principle as lightening.