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IBERDROLA VIOLATING FIRE CODES, LIED TO OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE, SAYS NH FIRE MARSHALL

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 26, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) –Last week, we reported  on the latest in a string of fires at Iberdrola wind facilities, last time at a Pennsylvania site. Some involved turbines made by Gamesa, in which Iberdrola owns a controlling interest.  Fires have occurred with other Gamesa turbines at additional sites.

Meanwhile in  New Hampshire, ECM has learned that State Fire Marshal Rob Anstey has accused Iberdrola of violating fire safety codes and lying to an oversight committee about the Fire Marshal’s requirements at its Groton Wind facility. The Fire Marshall has announced that he may issue a stop work order to shut down the facility.

That should spark concern here in San Diego, where Supervisors and the federal government recently approved Tule Wind, an Iberdrola wind project slated to go into a region prone to cstastrophic wildfires including the 2007 Harris Fire, which was fueled by 100 mph hurricane-force winds. Campgrounds are located in McCain Valley, where Iberdrola aims to line the only road in and out with wind turbines, each filled with hundreds of gallons of flammable lubricating oil.  Former Cal Fire Batallion Chief Mark Ostrander has warned that firefighters can't fight fires under a flaming turbine whirling off debris, and aerial drops won't work at heights above 300 feet. The turbines are 500 feet, so firefighters would have to wait for the fire to burn outside of the wind facility, which could result in a firestorm that could burn into urban San Diego areas, he has warned.

WIND FIRE: NEW QUESTIONS RAISED OVER WIND TURBINE BLAZE IN CAMPO

 

Part II in our "Wind Fire" series

By Miriam Raftery

December 17, 2013 (Campo) – Yesterday’s explosion and brush fire sparked by a Gamesa wind turbine owned by Infigen at the Kumeyaay Wind facility in Campo, California has ignited new questions about the safety of wind turbines in this fire-prone region, where several of the worst wildfires in California history have previously scorched hundreds of thousands of acres.

In June, Infigen settled a lawsuit with Gamesa stemming from an earlier catastrophe at the same wind facility in 2009, when an explosive blast resulted in replacement of all 75 wind turbines, as ECM reported in an exclusive report.  But now Boulevard Planning Group Chair Donna Tisdale reveals, “The 75 turbine blades from the 2009 catastrophic failure that you covered are still laying on the ground at the wind farm and are highly flammable.”

WIND FIRE: TURBINE EXPLODES, SPARKS BRUSH FIRE IN CAMPO

 

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery and Nadin Abbott

Photos by Jim Pelley, Michael Kurtz, Jim Colby, J. Rummler

 

December 16, 2013 (Campo) – A wind turbine on a ridge overlooking the Golden Acorn Casino exploded today, sparking several spot fires in surrounding brush that collectively charred about a half an acre.

David Elliott, a Manzanita tribal member, lives about  quarter of a mile from the wind facility on the neighboring Campo reservation. At first, he mistook the fire sounds for gusty wind. Then he walked outside and saw the turbine burning.  “The turbine did start several spot fires,” he said.  “If the wind had been coming from the northwest or west then my home, one of the closets homes to the turbines, would have definitely been in danger because we have brush on this side of the turbines and we would have had a major fire.”  Hear audio of his interview with ECM: http://kiwi6.com/file/bk3qywd787

DUAL DEATHS IN WIND TURBINE FIRE HIGHLIGHT HAZARDS

 

Could Vestas' fire-prone turbines be installed in East County?

By Miriam Raftery

October 31, 2013 (Netherlands) – Two young mechanics, ages 19 and 21, died when a fire broke out in a wind turbine where they were performing  routine maintenance.  The tragedy occurred at Deltawind’s Piet de Wit wind farm in the Netherlands, but highlights the hazards associated with fires caused by wind turbines.

According to the Netherlands Times, “because of the height, the fire department initially had trouble extinguishing the fire in the engine room.”  The fire started in the afternoon, but it took until evening for a special team of firefighters to arrive and ascend with a large crane.

EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS ASK COUNTY’S TOP HEALTH OFFICIAL TO REVISE REPORT, RECOGNIZE SERIOUS HEALTH IMPACTS FROM WIND TURBINES

 

By Nadin Abbott and Sierra Robinson;  Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

“This is an epidemic and we need help.” – Rowena Elliott, Manzanita tribal member

(photos left, David and Rowena Elliott)

May 6, 2013 (San Diego) –At a press conference outside the county administration building today, backcountry residents living near wind turbines told the media of serious health conditions they are suffering.  With Wednesday’s vote on a county wind ordinance looming, residents called on the county’s top health official, Wilma Wooten, to revise her report and recognize health concerns linked to wind turbines.

According to Donna Tisdale, President of the Boulevard Planning Group and founder of two community nonprofits, the vote is critical. Supervisors will “either sell us out, remove our human and property rights, or the Board (of Supervisors) will vote to protect the community.” 

If that doesn't happen, residents are prepared to file suit, they said.

FIRE THAT DESTROYED $4 MILLION WIND TURBINE RAISES SERIOUS QUESTIONS OVER LACK OF REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

 

Wind company fails to call fire department, lets blaze burn overnight

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Tehachapi fire, 2012

April 27, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)—Why is there no federal requirement for wind farm operators to report fires? 

That troubling fact came to light following a turbine malfunction that caused a fire, destroying a $4 million wind turbine at the Kibby Mountain facility in Maine.  Opponents accuse Trans-Canada of a cover up, the Bangor Daily News reports. (Trans-Canada, builder of the project, is also the company seeking to construct the controversial Keystone Pipeline.)

A sensor in the turbine detected the fire. But an employee did not arrive on scene until the next morning, after the fire had burned itself out.  The fire department was never notified, nor was any state agency.  Had the blaze not occurred in winter with snow on the ground, the fire could have spread to the adjacent forest, a Maine forestry official has stated.

 ECM has asked Cal-Fire in an e-mail whether wind facility operators are required to report fires to fire officials.  No response has been received.

NEW WEBSITE DOCUMENTS WIND TURBINE FIRES

September 9, 2012 (San Diego) – A new website, www.turbinesonfire.org, has been launched to raise public awareness about the dangers posed by wind turbines that explode into flames or are struck by lightning.

According to co-founder  Sherri Langue with the North American Platform Against Wind, the site “acts as a red flag…to alert folks about this already looming and horrific, unregulated problem. Imagine the impact with thousands more turbines in North America.”

EDITORIAL: RESIDENTS COUNTYWIDE SHOULD URGE SUPERVISORS TO BAN WIND TURBINES IN FIRE-PRONE REGIONS

 

County Democrats gut fire protection resolution, while Republican supervisors also fail to protect County residents from wind turbine fires

By Miriam Raftery

August 24, 2012 (San Diego's East County)--The San Diego Democratic Central Committee this week passed a measure calling on County Supervisors to increase firefighting resources-- but removed a key provision that would have urged lawmakers to ban wind turbines in fire-prone East County.  

Wind turbines have been responsible for starting hundreds of fires around the world, including wildfires, but firefighters cannot fight a fire burning in a 500-foot-tall wind turbine whirling off burning debris. With Supervisors poised to approve a wind ordinance opening the door to numerous turbines in the backcountry, the vote was a major disappointment to residents concerned about the clear threat to public safety posed by wind turbines in our fire-prone region.

COUNTY SUPERVISORS TO CONSIDER MAJOR EAST COUNTY ENERGY PROJECTS AUGUST 8

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 2, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—On Wednesday, August 8, San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors are expected to hold hearings on two controversial projects in East County.  Supervisors will weigh whether to overturn a Planning Commission recommendation not to approve five industrial wind turbines on private land as part of the larger Tule Wind project in McCain Valley. 

The Board is also expected to hear an appeal filed by residents asking Supervisors to reject the Planning Commission’s approval of the Energia Sierra Juarez cross-border Gen Tie (power lines) major use permit.

CAL FIRE: WIND TURBINE GENERATOR CAUSED WILDLAND FIRE THAT CHARRED 367 ACRES

By Miriam Raftery

July 31, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – With County Supervisors poised to consider approval of Tule Wind and a wind ordinance that could open much of fire-prone East County to wind energy development, a wildland fire that started at a wind turbine facility in Riverside County last month provides fuel for opponents concerned about fire risks posed by industrial-scale wind projects.

“The fire started with the windmill itself,” Captain Greg Ewing with Cal Fire/Riverside Fire Department informed ECM today.

Despite extensive area cleared around the base of each  turbine, Ewing said, the blaze still spread into a wildland fire that swiftly engulfed 367 acres. If not for prompt reporting by a witness, it could have been far worse.

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