Save Shetland totally agree with Stuart Hill’s recent letter, as we also have serious concerns regarding the epoxy resin toxins which are eroded from wind turbine blades.
The recent Norwegian report referred to by Mr Hill, actually uses data which was unintentionally provided by the University of Strathclyde from their report titled Rain Erosion Maps for Wind Turbines Based on Geographical Locations: A case study in Ireland and Britain.
This report was commissioned by the energy industry to focus on operation and predicting turbine maintenance requirements, which incidentally, on average will each go through three sets of blades in their lifetime.
The report was picked up on by the Norwegians, who took the data a step further and applied the findings to the leaching of toxins caused by erosion.
Their results are astounding and also frightening, especially given our demanding weather conditions.
As wind turbine blades erode during operation, the epoxy and other plastic substances are shed and are broken down into microparticles.
The particles protect the substances they contain, so retain their potential for damage for much longer. One of these substances is Bisphenol A, which damages the fertility of humans and organisms and is considered so dangerous to health that it has been banned in the EU and Canada.
Unbelievably, there is currently no requirement for the industry to provide figures and data regarding emissions and environmental damage due to turbine erosion, and there are no rules or guidelines to calculate the potential impact on land and marine life, on drinking water and people.
In answer to the question posed by Mr Hill, we would say, yes, in view of what’s taking place, we are totally out of our minds for allowing this to happen.
Spokesperson for SSE Renewables Aaron Priest responded:
“All SSE’s turbines are inspected and maintained on a regular basis to ensure that the asset integrity is maintained and that the turbines operate safely and at maximum efficiency.
“As part of SSE Renewables’ constant programme of maintenance, turbines are inspected for any wear. Where this is found, it is predominantly found at the tip of the leading edge, where the air velocity is highest. Wear on blades does not occur in a linear fashion and it takes time to develop, however once enough surface roughness occurs it can generate turbulence, hence the programme of constant inspection and ongoing maintenance.
“New turbines purchased and installed by SSE Renewables come with Leading Edge Protection (LEP) now fitted as standard and is retrofitted to its existing fleet of turbines, if/when required. This leading edge protection has been developed within the industry over a number of years, and now has a longstanding and proven track record of minimising / negating blade damage.
“It is in SSE Renewables’ best interests to actively manage wind turbine blade wear and to mitigate / negate it wherever possible and it has therefore had a full annual blade inspection and maintenance programme in operation for over a decade”.
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