When Wind Turbines Over Rotate

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | January 12, 2010 8:45 pm

Very rare, but fascinating.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Education, Energy

Comments (16)

Links to this Post

  1. When Windmills Break « Kepkanation | January 13, 2010
  1. Passerby

    I have to say this is more exciting than a typical “Girls gone Wild” segment on Jerry Springer.

  2. db

    the strong wind must have been the result of runaway global warming.

  3. eukaryote

    “the strong wind must have been the result of runaway global warming.”

    yawn…Mommy says it’s time for bed.

  4. This video is what, 2 years old now? How many people have been killed by other forms of power generation whose passing has gone un-noticed because it isn’t on youtube?

  5. Amazing reminder that we do not yet have the technical ability to capture the full extent of power possible from the wind. I wonder what this turbine could have been generating at that speed just prior to structural failure.

  6. I wonder how valid of a concern this is… why was someone video taping this windmill? Clearly there was some cause outside of extreme boredom, and enough warning for people to start filming (i.e. abnormally high hurricane winds, detection of structural fault, etc.)

  7. Let me emphasize that such an event is rare and was anticipated for this particular windmill–thus the reason it was filmed. They can be a threat to birds, but are not typically dangerous to humans.

  8. Mike

    Cool video, but not particularly relevant to the wind debate. Modern turbines have automatic shut-down mechanisms that will stop the blades when the wind reaches a certain velocity to avoid this kind of catastrophic failure. Also, simply stating that “they can be a threat to birds” kind of oversimplifies the issue. Most wind farms that have high degrees of bird kills (i.e. Altamont Pass) were sited without due consideration to this problem. And the number of birds killed by turbines pales in comparison to those killed by cars, house cats, or even houses for that matter. Ever watch a bird fly into a window over and over again until it knocked itself silly?

    In any case, looking to offshore wind drastically reduces these impacts even further. If a turbine blade snaps off in the middle of the ocean and no one is around to get hit by it, does it really cause a negative impact?

  9. Modern turbines have automatic shut-down mechanisms that will stop the blades when the wind reaches a certain velocity to avoid this kind of catastrophic failure.

    Exactly.

    simply stating that “they can be a threat to birds” kind of oversimplifies the issue. Most wind farms that have high degrees of bird kills (i.e. Altamont Pass) were sited without due consideration to this problem. And the number of birds killed by turbines pales in comparison to those killed by cars, house cats, or even houses for that matter.

    It’s a complicated issue, but it’s also a function of numbers–there are far more buildings with glass windows out there than turbines. There’s a lot we don’t know about migratory patterns, but you’re right–far more birds are killed by buildings, house cats, etc.

    In any case, looking to offshore wind drastically reduces these impacts even further.

    I’m all for offshore wind energy. Get on that Mike!

  10. Twilightened

    Remind me not to shoot my next music video with windmills in the background.

  11. skeptiksnarf

    as someone that is in this wind industry i get sick of this video being used for its shock value. The likely hood of a TURBINE running away is less then 0.01% and with there being over 16,000 wind Turbines installed in just north America the the chance of any Turbine blowing its self up is very very slim. lets focus instead on the damage that coal does, why not post about the fly ash spill of 08/09. and lastly this is a pet peeve (but i am not alone in this) they are not wind mills, they are Wind Turbines, calling them mills is like finger nails on a chalk board to those of us in the industry and a sign of laziness in terminology

  12. Have stated this is rare twice already, but it still makes an interesting video. You’re correct about language though, I’ll switch the title to turbines.

  13. QUASAR

    Such a nice piece of engineering, destroyed!

    :-(

  14. John w. Erb, P.E.

    Vertical Axis Wind Generators (VAWG), if properly designed, are superior to Horizontal Axis Wind Generators (HAWG). When the properly designed all-electric cars will replace our present recriprocating engine cars, so also VAWG’s will replace HAWG’s. Why, because they are much cheaper to build, they are more stable, they can be ground based or roof top based on skyscrapers, they can be built to greater dimensions, they are more effecient since their wind driven force is at a greater distance from the centroid. With screening bird kills are eleminated.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    “Let me emphasize that such an event is rare and was anticipated for this particular windmill–thus the reason it was filmed. They can be a threat to birds, but are not typically dangerous to humans.”

    Stop the cover up, please!

    The real truth. This particular windmill had been spotted on several occasions terrorizing nearby villages at night. To be specific, it would sneak up on cows, bicyclists, and porta-pottys flinging them hundreds of meters with its blades.

    When confronted with this, the windmill committed suicide.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry. Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 info@hachettespeakersbureau.com For more information, visit her website or email Sheril at srkirshenbaum@yahoo.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »