FENLAND: Turbine back in operation following ice scare.

PUBLISHED: 14:44 16 January 2009 | UPDATED: 08:50 02 June 2010

turbine in whittlesey A605 near the McCain turn

turbine in whittlesey A605 near the McCain turn

A SENSOR which is relied on to stop the Whittlesey wind turbine turning in icy conditions failed to work, an investigation has revealed. The investigation was launched after ice shards fell from the huge turbine near to homes and businesses in the town. I

A SENSOR which is relied on to stop the Whittlesey wind turbine turning in icy conditions failed to work, an investigation has revealed.

The investigation was launched after ice shards fell from the huge turbine near to homes and businesses in the town. It was conducted by the owners of the turbine Cornwall Light and Power, following complaints from residents and campaigners.

Speaking today the chief executive Neil Harris, said lessons had been learned from the incident and that new procedures would be put in place to stop it happening again.

As reported in the Wisbech Standard and Cambs Times worried residents called for the shut down of the turbine, after shards of ice fell from it, on to homes and businesses below, on November 29.

The £2m turbine was shut down, but there were concerns that the incident could be repeated.

However residents have reported that the blades are now turning again.

Mr Harris, said: "We have conducted a thorough investigation into what happened and how to ensure the safe operation of the turbine during icy conditions.

"The sensor that we had been advised to rely upon in stopping the turbine under icy conditions did not perform as expected.

"As such, in the short term we have proposed that the turbine is automatically stopped if temperatures drop below 4C.

"New equipment will then be installed which will detect the formation of ice on the blades, and which will stop the turbine operating."

He added: We have gone into great detail with the turbine manufacturer, and have kept the Health and Safety Executive informed throughout.

"The Health and Safety Executive is satisfied that both measures will ensure the safe operation of the turbine.

"We are meeting with local residents and businesses to explain this, and to advise that the turbine will be operational again."

The company said it would no longer be relying on this sensor at Whittlesey.

In the short term, it would ensure that the turbine is shut down as soon as the air temperature reaches 4C, and does not start again until an engineer has attended and confirmed there is no ice present.

New equipment will then be fitted to the turbine that continually monitors the condition of the blades and will detect the formation of ice, automatically shutting down the turbine.

This equipment has been independently proven to be effective at detecting even very small accumulations of ice, and will be fitted by the autumn of 2009.

Statement from Cornwall Light & Power - 15 January 2009


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