A reader of the blog shared the link of this video, showing the controlled demolition of a wind turbine in the UK.
The turbine looks like an old Acciona Windpower model. As you will see, the turbine is connected using a rope to a back hoe and the base of the tower is slowly cut using a blowtorch.
Then the backhoe start pulling, and the turbine fell to the ground pretty much like a tree.
I am aware that this solution has been used in several wind farms in different countries. However, I believe that this method is questionable. I have two concerns:
- Environmental impact. Not only the turbine destroy a bunch of trees but above all after the impact with the ground the debris flight everywhere. I assume that the area can be cleaned afterwards – however filling the area with fragments of different materials looks like a suboptimal solution to me.
- Safety risks. You will notice that at the minute 3:00 one of the blades hit the ground and detach itself from the rest of the turbine, moving in the direction of the backhoe. An objection can be that the rope can be long enough – however giving the geometry of the turbine and its different materials, I still see the residual risk of flying fragment hitting the operators.
I would recommend the “component by component” dismantling. We used this solution in a wind farm in Portugal and I believe it is much safer.
To see an intermediate solution (partial dismantling and partial demolition), have a look at this other video.
It is the repowering of El Cabrito, a very old wind farm near Tarifa (south of Spain). By coincidence, that area is also one of my preferred holyday destination, so I have several pictures of the old turbines.
You will see how the crane dismantle the blades and the nacelle. Subsequently, a different tool is used to crash the tower.