Hurricane-force winds last week in North Ayrshire, Scotland, caused a wind turbine to burst into flames. It’s believed that this is the first time that a high-speed related problem caused such a reaction since wind turbines are equipped with safety precautions for extreme weather conditions.
The Scottish turbine, at 328-feet tall, cost over $3 million and is part of a cluster of 15 turbines along the Scottish coast. This wind development provides clean energy to between 20,000 and 30,000 homes in the area.
An onlooker and local photographer, Stuart McMahon, saw the fire unfold and took the photographs that are now circling the internet.
McMahon reported that the turbine mast was braked when the turbine caught fire. Flames fanned out over the blades before catching on the wind and scattering flaming debris across the surrounding landscape.
The hurricane force winds reached over 165mph on the Cairngorm summit in Scotland as police warned residents to stay inside and avoid roads and railways that were blocked by uprooted trees and debris. More than 100 flights were canceled as well.
A detailed report of what exactly caused the turbine to catch fire will certainly take place since, since wind turbines are ideally located in high-intensity areas and are constantly analyzed for performance by scientists and developers.