Vestas “confident” of finding cause of turbine fire

Vestas is carrying out its own investigation into the fire, which occurred in a 3MW V112 turbine at the Gross Eilstorf wind farm in Germany on 30 March.

Vestas experts and two external experts are inspecting the nacelle and modelling possible root causes. The company has conducted on-site close inspections of the burnt turbine from height – using a crane and also using a drone aircraft with a camera.

After weather conditions delayed the investigation, Vestas now plans to take down the burnt turbine, which will lead to a closer on-the-ground inspection within days.

Planning is underway to replace the burnt turbine, which will commence next week.

Nobody was hurt in the fire, but the incident has caused considerable embarrassment for Vestas, one of the world’s largest turbine manufacturers. However, the company noted that it has over 46,000 turbines operating across the world, and that “these types of accidents are very rare.”

As a result of the incident, the company has paused other V112 turbines with a similar production configuration to the turbine that caught fire. Vestas engineers have carried out “thorough” checks on each of the paused turbines, checking for issues highlighted by the investigation, before returning each turbine to service.

A statement from Vestas read: “We are confident that we are getting closer to the root cause of the fire and we are now returning the paused turbines back to normal operation one by one.”

To prevent a repeat of the Gross Eilstorf fire, the company has also carried out upgrades on the paused turbines, including new software to mitigate the issues found as part of the root cause investigation.

Vestas said all of the paused turbines should be returned to normal operation by late April.