Taiwan Power Co seeks investigation of wind-turbine fire

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Tuesday October 17, 2006

Taipei- The Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) has asked Spain's Gamesa to investigate the cause of a fire that destroyed a Gamesa-built wind turbine in what is believed to be the world's first wind-turbine blaze, a Taipower official said Tuesday. "We have asked Gamesa to send technicians to Taiwan to investigate the cause of the fire," Chen Wu-hsiung, director of Taipower's Wind Power Department, told reporters after Monday's blaze. "Preliminary investigation points to the generator's overheating as the cause of the fire."

Firefighters needed one hour to put out the fire because the generator was 67 metres above the ground. Including its blades, the wind turbine stands 107 metres tall.

Taipower has bought six wind turbines from Gamesa, one of the world's leading wind-turbine manufacturers. The six turbines were installed in Hsinchu County on Taiwan's west coast at the end of September and have been undergoing trial run before they go into commercial operation, scheduled for next month.

Tseng Kuo-hua, a professor at Tamkang University, said the fire raised concerns about the safety of wind turbines because it's difficult to extinguish a fire about 30 storeys high.

"I am shocked and very disappointed because wind power is a mature technology and this should not have happened," Tseng told the Broadcasting Corp of China.

He said Taiwan must ensure the safety of wind power because the island plans to install 1,100 wind turbines by 2010.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency