A new report has established that there have been fires on wind turbines. A fire in the Netherlands killed two workers, which raises the question as to whether wind turbines have adequate fire suppression equipment on board.
The Netherlands fire highlighted the lack of properly sized firefighting equipment available to a local fire department to fight a fire 500 feet above the ground.
The immediate concern should be for wind farm workers who can be trapped 500 feet above the ground. One of the workers killed in the Netherlands fire was found lying on the ground and apparently fell to his death while attempting to escape the fire.
The next concern should be to determine or establish the kind of fire suppression equipment required for wind turbines in the nacelle, and to be certain it is effective.
And should local fire departments be required to have suitable equipment for fighting fires several hundred feet above the ground? This could be a problem for small communities that don’t normally equip their departments with this kind of equipment. Wind turbines in these communities could increase taxes on people living there.
Beyond these immediate issues is whether a fire near a forested area could ignite a forest fire. Is this taken into consideration when siting wind farms?
In addition, 500-foot-tall wind turbines prevent air drops by firefighters, as the height of the wind turbines prevents planes from flying low enough to be effective.
It appears as though wind turbine fires are more common than thought. Communities should investigate the issue before approving wind farms or the addition of new wind turbines.
States such as Maine, Colorado and California, where forests are widespread, should be careful when siting wind turbines.
It’s been a well-known fact that wind turbines kill thousands of birds and bats every year.
Researchers estimated between 600,000 and 900,000 bats were killed by wind turbines in the United States in 2012.
Bats are important to agriculture as they kill pests. They also kill mosquitoes.
Some of the birds killed each year are on the endangered species list. For example, the bald eagle, America’s symbol, is being killed by wind turbines.
Any private citizen who kills a bald eagle, even if by accident, will pay a hefty fine.
But wind energy lobbyists have gotten this administration to exempt wind farms from penalties for the next 30 years if they kill or injure bald eagles.
There are other well-known problems with wind farms, such as noise and their being a blot on the landscape thereby damaging tourism, but fires and the exemption of wind farms from penalties for killing bald eagles are the latest news about wind energy.
On balance, it would appear as though wind energy is the most environmentally unfriendly and ecologically damaging of the five renewable energy alternatives: wind farms, PV solar, concentrating solar, geothermal and hydro.
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