Windpark Eemmeerdijk incident unveils safety concerns

Vattenfall has revealed that a vibrated pitch cylinder caused the collapse of the Windpark Eemmeerdijk wind turbine in Flevoland, the Netherlands.

The incident, which occurred in January, prompted an investigation into the design and safety of the turbine. Vattenfall reports that a faulty component in the blade control system led to the turbine’s failure, as the blades could not be properly adjusted to the wind conditions. The incident highlights the importance of turbine design and safety measures in preventing such accidents. Vattenfall plans to share its findings and recommendations with partners in the wind sector to ensure improved safety standards.

The Windpark Eemmeerdijk wind farm is the only one in the Netherlands that utilizes NedWind 55 wind turbines with two blades. Modern turbines typically have three blades, each with its own control system, providing redundancy in case of a failure. In this incident, the mechanical brake activated but was unable to stop the turbine, resulting in excessive electricity generation and the eventual breakage of a blade.

Vattenfall acknowledges the rarity of such incidents but emphasizes the need for robust turbine design to prevent single mistakes from having significant consequences. The company recognizes the importance of automatic blade positioning and proper attachment mechanisms, such as metal locking pins, to prevent vibration loosening. Lessons from this incident highlight the evolving safety requirements and the need for regular checks and evaluations of turbine designs, especially as turbines age.

Safety measures

The wind turbines at Windpark Eemmeerdijk were already scheduled for demolition later this year, and operations have ceased following the accident. Vattenfall aims to inform other wind farm owners still using similar turbine models about the risks involved and encourages them to review their safety measures.

By sharing its findings and recommendations with industry partners, Vattenfall aims to improve safety standards and prevent similar incidents in the future. As insights and technologies evolve, it is crucial to reevaluate the safety of older turbine models and implement necessary measures to ensure the well-being of wind farm operations.

Image source: Vattenfall

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