Wind Farms in Earthquake Zones

Building wind farms in earthquake zones takes special attention, according to turbine manufacturer NEG Micon.

Randers, Denmark – November 26, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] Ole Gunneskov, R&D Director NEG Micon, said specific requirements must be observed when designing and constructing wind turbine foundations for such areas. “In a vast number of those countries that have been classified as earthquake zones, the local authorities have laid down requirements stipulating that, wind turbine foundations must be modified to allow for local seismic conditions,” Gunneskov said. “And for the entrepreneur this translates into highly specific requirements when designing and constructing wind turbine foundations for such areas.” “About a year ago, NEG Micon erected four wind turbines of the NM48/750 type in the town of Campolieto near Campobasso, Italy an area which – as reported widely by the media – recently experienced a severe earthquake. When the foundations for the four wind turbines were capable of withstanding the tremors, this should first and foremost be seen in the light of the fact that during both the design and construction phases these foundations had been modified to suit local seismic conditions.” Today, the development of wind turbine projects knows no geographical bounds. And when project developers cross borders, developing and investing in wind energy projects in areas classified as earthquake zones, they must, according to Gunneskov, be aware that legislation in most of these countries obliges the developers to approach and consult with an engineer or a statics specialist approved by the authorities during the project phase. “In several countries – including, Italy – legislation requires that a local engineer or statics specialist approved by the authorities must review the statics underlying a given construction design prior to the erection of buildings – and this thus also includes wind turbine foundations – in earthquake zones. If such a review should reveal that a wind turbine foundation must be modified to suit local seismic conditions, this is done in cooperation with local authorities in accordance with specific requirements – and in this way, it is ensured that the seismic requirements are met.”
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