Summary of Wind Turbine Accidents

Caithness Windfarm Information Forum (CSIF) maintains fairly current summary data on wind-related accidents. As of this writing Caithness says:

The attached detailed table includes all documented cases of wind turbine related accidents which could be found and confirmed through press reports or official information releases up to 30 June 2010. CWIF believe that this compendium of accident information may be the most comprehensive available anywhere.

Data in the detailed table attached is by no means fully comprehensive – CWIF believe that what is attached may only be the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of numbers of accidents and their frequency. However, the data gives an excellent cross-section of the types of accidents which can and do occur, and their consequences. With few exceptions, before about 1997 only data on fatal accidents has been found.

The trend is as expected – as more turbines are built, the more accidents occur. Numbers of recorded accidents reflect this, with an average of 16 accidents per year from 1995-99 inclusive, 48 accidents per year from 2000-04 inclusive, and 105 accidents per year from 2005-09 inclusive. Indeed over the past three years (2007-09) the average has been 124 accidents per year.

This general trend upward in accident numbers is predicted to continue to escalate unless HSE make some significant changes – in particular to protect the public by declaring a minimum safe distance between new turbine developments and occupied housing and buildings (currently 2km in Europe), and declaring “no-go” areas to the public, following the 500m exclusion zone around operational turbines imposed in France.

CWIF have documented 63 fatal accidents.