Wind Turbines Gone Wild

I’ve seen wind turbines from a distance, and they looked big, but I had no idea how big they were until I was as the State Fair (Minnesota) last year, and saw a single blade, mounted vertically like an enormous sculpture, extending gracefully so high in the sky that passing comets and asteroids were getting stuck on it.

Then, just a few weeks later, I was driving from the cabin to Grand Rapids, MN, to give a talk, and came across a convoy of trucks holding wind turbine parts. Six or seven trucks, each carrying some huge part of a wind turbine installation, were pulled off to the side of the road taking up most of a small town (I think the drivers were getting coffee).

Page 3.14 has a post linking to Sb Germany with a couple of amazing videos of what happens when wind turbines break.

As Christian Reinboth reports on, at his energy blog Frischer Wind (“Brisk Wind”), unusually high winds in Denmark on Monday tore the rotor from a turbine on a wind-power farm in Hornslet. The turbine failed spectacularly, exploding mid-spin and scattering parts across the landscape below.

Here is one of the videos:

The other is here, at Frischer Wind, das blog zur Energiewende. Go have a look!


  1. #1 Old Bogus
    February 28, 2008

    This windmill seems to be running too fast, like it was freewheeling unloaded. If there is no load and the brakes fail, it has its own system of stopping eventually. Catastrophically. For a more normal operation here is my video:

  2. #2 Christian
    February 28, 2008

    It certainly is a good day for the ScienceBlogs Germany ‘startup project’ when we start to get links from one of the original ‘ScienceBloggers’ over here at (and one of the most productive in terms of postings, I might add).

    So, thanks for noticing us 🙂

  3. #3 Dorid
    June 16, 2008

    Greg, am looking for information on a single blade wind turbine. Can’t seem to find much information on them, and this blog entry came up number one on the search here at science blogs.

    Specifically, I’m looking for information on a type of turbine that was apparently used for a Masters project in the last couple years at University of Rhode Island, which was used to power a boat. It’s the TYPE of turbine, not the specific turbine itself that I’m interested in.

    Information? Suggestions?


    Kate (Dorid)

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    June 16, 2008

    I probably don’t know, but you can look at this:

    and contact this guy, who knows everything about wind energy:

  5. #5 windturbines
    August 20, 2009

    The blades of 3Mw wind turbines are more than 50m. The tower is 120 meter height. In 20 years ago , this is impossible but today it has become the reality.