Kyoto wind farm turbine falls after pylon snaps


A 38-ton wind turbine crashed 50 meters to the ground in Kyoto Prefecture after the steel column supporting it snapped, according to officials.

The massive Dutch-made turbine, which sat atop a Japanese-made steel column, was part of a mountain wind farm. It was put up in 2001 with an expected life of at least 17 years.

“We are asking experts to look into the cause of the problem. We suspect metal fatigue might have played a role,” a local government official said Thursday, adding no one was injured.

The smashed turbine was discovered Wednesday although it is not known when it fell at the remote facility. A strong windstorm struck wide areas of the nation around that time.

Wind farms have sprouted across large stretches of Japan over the last two decades as the resource-poor country seeks to capitalize on its natural bounty.

The drive for alternative energy has intensified since the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster started two years ago.

Only two of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors are in operation and public opposition against restarting reactors remains strong.

  • That’s why SUT (Solar Updraft Towers are a really really good idea, all the advantages of solar, and wind, AND you get to keep the turbines on the ground.

    • katewerk

      There are no “advantages” to solar and wind, unless you’re in the business of feeding at the subsidy trough.

      • Orpheus

        No need for primary energy sources -> Energy independency

        Wind farms can be build off-shore. Try that with conventional power plants.

        Solar pannels do not need extra space, if placed on rooftops. No other conventional power plant can do that.

        More “renewables” lead to a decentralized grid which is less susceptible to large scale black outs.

        No massive evacuation in case of accident.

        Yes, there are drawbacks. But you claimed “there are no advantages”, or “no real advantages”. Are those real enough?

      • Venture Guy

        keep dreaming. Currently 10% of the Golden Eagle population in California is killed Every Year by…Industrial Wind Turbines and the extra wires and substations.. They are massive killers of ratpors. A wind farm in NJ recorded 78 kills per turbine per year…including endangered and threatened raptors…can hardly wait to have them everywhere. Then of course people are fighting for their lives when they build these monster machine next to them. These people are left spending their life savings against government backed power brokers and the unlimited resources of the state. Of course the turbine work about 10%-35% of the time…what is the plan for the other 65-90% of the time….and even while they work, they have to be supported with highly inefficient natural Gas turbines…as opposed to just running highly efficient natural gas co-generation plants…which would produce less pollution straight out…Of course no lobbyist’s gravy or subsidies in that! Conservation and inefficiency are ten times more cost effective…but of course…no money in that. What an in convenient truth…

      • Orpheus

        Yes, many birds get killed by wind turbines, especially kites (milvus) and eagles. But these numbers a negligible (up to 150,000 per year) compared to kills by power lines (10 million) and traffic (another 10 million). My source is a study by NABU and relates to 22,000 turbines in Germany.

        An environmental impact survey is needed befor you can build larger wind farm (well, at least in the EU). And if migratory birds or other kinds deserving protection are threatened by the turbines it won’t be build. If those wind turbine kill that many eagles someone didn’t pay enough attention (where was EPA?). Btw. in the area of off-shore wind farms the biodiversity of marine live increases due to various factors (no fishing, fundaments used as hiding places, etc).

        “the turbine work about 10%-35% of the time” that is the overall
        utilisation ratio and they get better with off-shore-wind farms. (Who ever planed a wind turbine with a 10 % utilisation ratio should get fired!) And the need for stand-by power plants will lessen with better storage technologies.

        “lobbyist’s gravy or subsidies” are going to the old coal plants and their backers, too. Nothing new on that front. But co-generation plants are a really good idea, but my guess is most people don’t want to be dependent on an outside source of heat. And it isn’t even needed in a californien summer (or most of the year, I guess).

        As long as I live, I will never stop dreaming.

        With kind regards

      • Dennis Grass

        Often, people forget about the hidden (subsidized) costs associated with current products.

        Paul Epstein, director of Harvard Medical School Center for Health and
        the Global Environment, has examined the health and environmental
        impacts of coal, including: mining, transportation, combustion in power
        plants and the impact of coal’s waste stream. He found that the “life
        cycle effects of coal and its waste cost the American public $333
        billion to over $500 billion dollars annually”. These are costs the coal
        industry is not paying and which fall to the community in general.
        Eliminating that subsidy would dramatically increase the price of
        coal-fired electricity.

        In other words, from $.06 /kW to $.34 k/W

        non members can read an analysis of the report here:

      • Christian Bultmann

        Great an MD masquerading as economist. I’m just wondering if the good doctor ever thought about how the United States would look like without 1,755,904GWh of electricity. Talking about hidden subsidize Mr Epstein should consider that manufacturing a solar panel or a wind farm today depends on low cost coal and gas electricity. If a green energy like a wind farm would only use electricity from wind farms for an energy source in the manufacturing process the cost of wind energy would be 5 to 10 times higher.

      • Except that SUT’s aren’t subsidized. Because that would make sense. Go and read the website I linked before making up something about it.

  • peace_is_the_way

    This one broken wind turbine has relatively insignificant or no ongoing grave dangers.

    Fukushima has tons of highly radioactive spent fuel rods stored in a precarious, damaged cooling pool that is probably leaking. Another earthquake could cause it to collapse or leak more, starting a massive nuclear fire catastrophe emitting more radiation than Chernobyl, and VERY hard to stop.

    • Infanteer

      Perhaps the cooling pool problem wouldn’t be such an issue if the rods stored there had been shipped offsite and reprocessed, or put into entombed storage – oh wait, the greenies prevented any movement of fissiles in many countries, forcing ad-hoc storage in places like cooling pools.

      Also, I understand that the cooling pools need only water to prevent radiation release. Rods are stored in a physical environment and configuration preventing ctiticality, which is entirely different from the hazards posed by Chernobyl – an active reactor core with sub-standard engineering, maintenance, and primarily designed to produce plutonium.
      You are conflating the real but manageable hazards of energy production, often compounded by the actions of anti-energy campaigners, with those of the technological benchmark of bad design, operation, and safety.

    • Christian Bultmann

      What about the rare earth mineral mining in China that’s needed to build those massive generators.

      Those people getting slowly poisoned by the chemical process with little or no personal protective gear would love to trade for clean air with a bit more radiation in it.

  • Warren Zoell

    It was going after a particularly large bird when it snapped.

  • peter j

    You really have to be a foam at the mouth, granola crunching tree hugger to see any logic at all in Wind Mills.

    • Felina Flash

      Ya but they gone a long to controlling the bird and bat population to the delight of the insect world.

  • Japanese engineers miscalculated the required strength of the steel tower.
    It is not the dutch made windturbine nacelle, generator and blades

  • w5ive

    17 year life expectancy is a pathetic cradle-to-grave use of resources. Even more sad; the monstrosity didn’t come close to projections.