Thursday, September 29, 2022

Turbines in One Part of Norway Are Falling Apart Because of…the Wind

Turbines in One Part of Norway Are Falling Apart Because of…the Wind


As Wile E. Coyote used to say, “Well, back to the old drawing board.”

Norway is awash in oil and gas. But the Norwegian government prefers renewables, including wind power. However, for turbines to work, two things need to happen. One, the wind needs to blow. And two, the turbines need to work. At the Ånstadblåheia wind farm near Sortland, Norway, these two factors have combined to create a unique headache for the environmentally-minded.

The wind is blowing, so there’s that problem solved. But the farm’s turbines cannot handle it. Since 2020, at least seven parts of the turbines have fallen off during high winds. Life In Norway reports that the Norwegian Water Resources and Directive has given the farm until October 10 to fix the problem or shutter operations.

The site notes that there is a standard for turbine construction in Norway and that they must be able to handle harsh weather and, well, high wind. A power plant spokesman said that the wind and weather in the area create some of the toughest conditions to subject machinery to.

One of the favorite criticisms of wind power has been that the wind does not always blow. Well, that does not seem to be a problem in Sortland. Life in Norway notes that wind and ice have caused panels and covers to fall to the ground. If the wind is so strong that it’s blowing pieces off these things, exactly where is all this junk landing? Is it hitting cars? Hikers? Wildlife? Technicians are on the job as you read this, hoping to have the turbines operational and safe before the drop-dead date.

Related: Eagles vs. Greens: Golden Eagles Becoming Endangered Because of Wind Farms

In the United States, before a company can drill for resources, there are at least feasibility studies, environmental impact studies, and countless reviews. I would think that Norway would have something like that in place. Didn’t anyone at least do a study of the conditions in the area or the quality of the equipment before putting the things up? Or did they just say, “Green is good! Get those turbines up right now!”

Ironically, CNS News reported back in July that a wind turbine in Sweden collapsed, and people were urged to avoid it because it was leaking — wait for it — oil. Turns out, much to the surprise of environmentally conscious Swedes, oil is pretty darn important for making sure that the gearboxes of wind turbines function as they should. The article quoted Patricia Pitsel, Ph.D., Principal at Pitsel & Associates Ltd., who said the average wind farm needs around 12,000 gallons of oil.

Someone better call Wile E. Coyote to see if he has any old ACME parts lying around. Or maybe get some duct tape.

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