Huge wind turbine shows need for new safety focus

News that the world’s longest wind turbine blade is undergoing testing in the UK has underlined the importance of agreeing new transport and lifting best practice guildelines for the industry, says ESTA Director Ton Klijn.

The 107 metre LM Wind Power blade will be put through its paces at the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s blade-test facility in Northumberland and is designed to operate from GE Renewable Energy’s Haliade-X 12 MW turbine.

Three other 107 metre offshore blades will soon be shipped to a prototype site in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The LM blade is the first wind turbine blade to surpass 100 meters in length.

Ton Klijn said: “Developments like this in the wind industry – both offshore and onshore – are hugely exciting and show how rapidly the industry is changing.

“But they also underline the need for the turbine manufacturers and the wind farm developers to work closely with the transport and lifting companies to ensure that contracts are carried out effectively and safely.”

“This is why ESTA is spending so much time and effort developing best practice guidelines for the transport and erection of onshore wind turbines.”

The first draft of ESTA’s new Best Practice Guide on the transport and erection of onshore wind turbines is due to be presented at ESTA’s autumn meeting in Piacenza, Italy in October.

The guide is being produced with support from the crane manufacturer members of FEM – the European Materials Handling Federation – and the turbine manufacturers through VDMA Power Systems, part of the German engineering association.

ESTA is also supporting the Wind Harmony project, a new European Commission study set up to “explore health, safety, and environment (HSE) best practice in the wind power sector”. 
Further information about the UK testing project is here: