State symbol of Germany: Gusts of wind cause a wind turbine to collapse in the district of Rostock. Instead of “cheap” electricity, there was just a loud bang: the symbol of the green energy transition first lost parts of its rotor blades, then literally buckled and crashed to the ground. A disaster for the environment…
Typhoon “Zakarias” has spread across the north. No major damage has been done so far. But in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the storm caused flooding and disrupted rail and ferry traffic. Not only some trees fell: a 65-meter-high wind turbine at a wind farm south of Gnoenen (Rostock district) also crashed.
On Monday morning, gusts of wind initially tore off parts of the rotor blades. Possibly due to the resulting imbalance, the tubular mast bent in two places and the turbine and propeller fell into a field.
The other five turbines in the wind farm have now been shut down to be safe. According to the technicians, the remote control of the wind turbine had developed a problem even before the wind started and it was no longer possible to shut it down. Fortunately, no one was hurt. As a precaution, police blocked the nearby country road between Jördenstorf and Gnoenen for several hours. Damage is estimated at 50,000 euros.
Considering that every hurricane is now attributed to “man-made” climate change, wind turbines are clearly nothing but climate change-proof—they’re not even immune to lightning strikes:
Is this Germany’s energy future? Wind turbines that stand still when there is not enough wind and break or burst into flames during storms? The idea that wind power and photovoltaics can begin to guarantee energy security in the future is downright unrealistic. Furthermore, although wind turbines produce “CO2-free electricity”, their balance sheets in terms of production and disposal are anything but good.
significant environmental impact
Plants usually have to be replaced after about 20 years – if they do not break down before that (as in Brandenburg, where some plants recently had to be uprooted). The old wind turbines are then dismantled and disposed of. But rotor blades are made of a complex composite material and are very difficult to recycle. They are not allowed to be stored in general landfills because they will not decompose there. Burrowing wind turbine blades is prohibited in Germany, so wherever possible they are cut and used as an alternative fuel in the cement industry or burned in waste incineration plants. Experts fear that material from defective rotor blades from Europe could easily find its way into the United States, where it is dumped. Carbon fiber reinforced wings in particular are considered a threat to the environment – Augsburger Allgemeine reported in January based on a report by the Federal Environment Agency:
Because of the respirable particles, care must be taken when dismantling and transporting carbon fiber reinforced fins. The rotor blades are usually cut directly on site into six to twelve meter long pieces. Stapf (from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) says that to prevent the release of small fiber fragments, for example, a mist of housing and water should be used to separate the particles.
It is also known that fibers are insoluble and inactive. According to the UBA report, this means that they can potentially accumulate in the environment and even in living beings. The possible consequences are unclear.
How cool that the acclaimed wind turbines are so stable and weather-resistant!