Wind turbine breaks apart at Australia Antarctic base

November 8, 2017
The head of a turbine at an Australian Antarctic base plunged to the ground Tuesday, narrowly missing a storage building
The head of a wind turbine lies on the ground at Australia's Antarctic Division's Mawson station after it broke off narrowly missing a storage building

The blades of a wind turbine at an Australian Antarctic base broke off and narrowly missed a storage building as they crashed to the ground, officials said Wednesday, forcing the icy outpost to switch to backup power.

The head of the turbine, one of two at Mawson station, plunged 30 metres (100 feet) on Tuesday evening, despite there being only moderate gusts of at the time.

All 13 members of the expedition at the station are safe, and were inside their living quarters at the time, said Rob Wooding, general manager of support and operations at the base.

The second turbine was deactivated as a precaution, with the base switching to its diesel generators.

"While Mawson can experience regular blizzards, the conditions over the last few days have been moderate, with wind gusts of up to 40 knots," he said.

The was built by the German company Enercon, and went into operation in 2003.

"The cause of the incident is unknown and will be fully investigated," said Wooding, adding that regular maintenance was carried out on the turbines.

Mawson, named after polar explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, is one of three Australian bases in Antarctica. Established in 1954, it is the longest continuously operating south of the Antarctic Circle.

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6 comments

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PTTG
5 / 5 (2) Nov 08, 2017
Just in case anyone wants to say windmills are unsafe, I'll spend a day picnicking under a windmill for every day you spend at the bottom of a smokestack.
TrollBane
5 / 5 (2) Nov 08, 2017
Anyone who would make that bogus argument against renewables would have to pretend pipeline ruptures don't occur, and certainly pretend that the downtown of Lac Megantic, Quebec wasn't blown to smithereens by a runaway tanker car filled with petroleum products, killing roughly fifty people. Must not have those inconvenient thoughts...
Eikka
not rated yet Nov 09, 2017
Just in case anyone wants to say windmills are unsafe, I'll spend a day picnicking under a windmill for every day you spend at the bottom of a smokestack.


How about next to a nuclear powerplant?
WillieWard
1 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2017
How about next to a nuclear powerplant?
It has no exposed wind blades to break apart and injury people, and it is less radioactive than the Grand Central Station in New York.
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WillieWard
1 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2017
"The second turbine was deactivated as a precaution, with the base switching to its diesel generators."
"diesel generators"? Ok. diesel is "renewable" because it's a kind of fossilized biomass(solar energy stored millions of years ago).
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Nov 09, 2017
Whoa, good thing it wasnt a nuclear powerplant.

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