On 18 December an accident occurred in connection with the installation and start up of a Vestas V80-2.0 MW turbine near Schneeberg in Germany. Nobody was hurt, the accident causing only structural damage. The incident occurred at low wind speed during a routine test of the turbine’s safety system. The turbine was installed, but had not started up. During testing of the turbine’s automatic emergency stop function, a break occurred on the foundation ring, which caused the turbine to overturn. The turbine had not been overloaded and no failure of the safety system or any other part of the turbine have been identified.

The break occurred because of an unauthorised welding correction carried out during the manufacture of the foundation ring. This reduced ductility of the material and consequently caused the accident. Vestas insits that preliminary investigations show this to be ‘a one-off situation’ that has never occurred before. The company has undertaken to review its procedure for certification and quality control of foundation rings.