Deadly Winds in the Americas Kill People and Destroy Turbines

Stage collapse at a campaign rally in northern Mexico kills at least 9 people and injures 121 (

Tornado in small Iowa town kills 5, destroys buildings: photos -

Wind towers crumpled after Iowa wind farm suffers rare direct hit from powerful twister (

Watch: Drone video shows tornado hit wind turbines near Greenfield (

Update: Wind Industry looking at enhancing standards, due to tornado-caused destruction.
Wind towers crumpled after Iowa wind farm suffers rare direct hit from powerful twister | AP News

From the article:

Several of the turbines at MidAmerican Energy Company’s Orient wind farm recorded wind speeds of more than 100 mph as the tornadoes approached just before the turbines were destroyed, the company said in a statement.

There’s not much that can withstand tornadoes. If we want to limit the damage in wind energy, there is a solution: AWE. We land the AWES in the event of an alert.

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Yes of course every newbie’s “answer” to overspeed protection is “we’ll just shut 'er down if strong winds are expected!”
In the case of flying kites from a shipping container, I guess you could just stow it away whenever strong winds are expected, but as with all wind energy devices, you would then miss out on your most productive times.
If your kite was brought down, yet still hanging on its “mast” (because they don’t need a “tower”, right?) it would still be easily destroyed by a tornado.
In fact, if you look at the destruction of the homes, with cars and trucks upside-down and ripped to shreds, even if you could get it all inside the shipping container, it would probably not be enough to avoid destruction.
What I found interesting was the turbine that folded over was not actually hit by the tornado. It was only nearby. And I did not see the blades even being bent. Not sure if it was even a 100 mph wind that hit it. maybe the towers are not as strong as advertised!
Some internal bracing might prevent buckling of the walls, but might also restrict the amount of room inside for climbing.
I thought it interesting that:

  1. The tornado did not seem as strong as many, and did not even hit the wind turbine
  2. the tornado was comprised of several smaller tornadoes, orbiting together - crazy!

And while newbies «all» ssy this, its still a great plan. No power production during tornadoes? well how many hours per year are we missing there?

Anyways, like all these kind of discussions, which source of power being preferred is extremely speculative until we see what the alternatives actually look like

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Tornadoes are not part of wind fluctuations, nor even strong winds as such. These are separate destructive phenomena, and predictable to a certain extent. As @tallakt suggests, we do without wind power during the short tornado periods. And during these periods the AWES (assuming they have overcome the actual implementation hurdles to get up and running) return to their respective stations, at less risk of destruction.

Hi Pierre: I really did not mean to imply that actual tornado strikes are a likely event for most wind energy systems. I just thought the amount of destruction wind can cause was interesting for anyone interested in wind. Especially seeing a video f a wind turbine being folded over to the ground by the wind. Now everyone can go back to sleep, and maybe have another hazy dream about, at some far-off mythical future date, an AWE system in regular operation. :slight_smile:

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And never rely on a shipping container full of gear & tethered to some big rocks to stay by the loch. Especially not when the wind wants it to go off and roll up a hill. A tough lesson for our old windsurf club

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