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Tom Kirkman

Wind Turbine Collapse in the Bronx; Will Any Lessons Be Learned?

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Unexpected news.  I wasn't even aware there was a wind turbine installed in the Bronx (one of the 5 boroughs of New York City).

 

Wind Turbine Collapse in the Bronx; Will Any Lessons Be Learned?

A wind turbine collapse in the Bronx of all places just destroyed a car and endangered many. Politicians complained, of course, but have they learned?

This is a bizarre story. It’s all about a wind turbine collapse in the Bronx. It’s hard to imagine a wind turbine in the Bronx, let alone a wind turbine collapse. This was no ordinary wind turbine. It turned horizontally, rather than vertically, which is how it sometimes has to be done in tight spaces. It was installed in the Baychester section of the Northeast Bronx just two weeks ago and has already torn itself apart, making for some great photos, video and tabloid journalism. But, are any lessons being learned?


Here is the story from the ultimate in tabloid journalism, London’s Daily Mail, and here is the video:

One accident doesn’t suffice to condemn an industry, although fractivists are loathe to accept this. The story, in this case, speaks for itself and provides plenty of entertainment for all of us. There are a few serious lessons to be learned from this wind turbine collapse, though.

Let’s start with New York State Senator Jamaal Bailey’s comment in the aftermath of the wind turbine collapse:

“We are here calling on the Department of Buildings in the City of New York to do their job, come out here and inspect, and make sure something like this doesn’t happen again…”

“A wind turbine should not be able to be taken down by the wind.”

Well, that’s certainly true. Nonetheless, Bailey’s rushing to the microphone now is little disingenuous given what he said a little over a year ago:

“Transforming our energy system into a more green economy will improve the lives of New Yorkers and will make New York a leading green state.”

Well, that isn’t quite as simple as it sounds, is it? That’s first lesson; wind energy has very real safety and environmental issues. It’s no free lunch.

A second lesson is more of a question. Did the owner/developer of this wind turbine receive tax credits or other ratepayer/taxpapayer subsidies? My guess is that they did or were planning to take advantage of those subsidies. Moreover, I’ll bet they were going to feed the electricity generated into the grid at retail value even though it wasn’t needed, thereby weakening the economics of other energy sources such as natural gas still needed to provide the energy when the winds aren’t tearing apart the wind turbine or after the wind turbine collapse. That means the wind turbine was increasing electric rates at the same time it was taking subsidies; double-dipping if you will.

The third lesson is that renewable energy seldom makes sense in urban environments. Solar takes up too much valuable land and rooftops aren’t enough. Wind towers are potentially dangerous as this incident just proved. Solar and wind belong in the country but then you have to transport the energy to the city, which further exacerbates the money-pit problem with “green” energy, not to mention all the new infrastructure involved and if you think a pipeline that is typically unnoticeable when finished is controversial, try building a major power line.  ...

 

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This wind turbine lasted 2 weeks before collapsing.

Bronx wind turbine’s blades fly off, smashing car and billboard

A shoddy wind turbine fell apart in the Bronx on Monday when it couldn’t handle its own power source — gusty winds.

The blade damaged a nearby car and an illuminated billboard when it flew off the 250-foot structure in Baychester at about 1:20 p.m., police said.

There were no injuries reported.

Local politicians rushed to the scene and blasted the “hastily” constructed alternative-energy source.

The turbine started spinning on Dec. 17, providing power to nearby buildings, according to the Bronx Times.

“This shouldn’t have been put up so hastily,” said state Sen. Jamaal Bailey. “A wind turbine should not be able to be taken down by the wind.”

Assemblyman Mike Benedetto claimed the monopole turbine was erected quickly “in order to try and make a buck.”  ...

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(edited)

@Tom Kirkman my take is it was just a nasty bet among billionaires bored with live, the need for entertainment, the rate was 1 US dollar, like in "Trading Places".

The bet was to build wind turbine in New York or oil refinery in Boston, and the wind turbine in Bronx proved to be much easier.

Quality was not an objective, just to built, to prove you can.

Edited by Marcin
typo
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On 12/31/2019 at 2:09 PM, Tom Kirkman said:

This wind turbine lasted 2 weeks before collapsing.

Bronx wind turbine’s blades fly off, smashing car and billboard

A shoddy wind turbine fell apart in the Bronx on Monday when it couldn’t handle its own power source — gusty winds.

The blade damaged a nearby car and an illuminated billboard when it flew off the 250-foot structure in Baychester at about 1:20 p.m., police said.

There were no injuries reported.

Local politicians rushed to the scene and blasted the “hastily” constructed alternative-energy source.

The turbine started spinning on Dec. 17, providing power to nearby buildings, according to the Bronx Times.

“This shouldn’t have been put up so hastily,” said state Sen. Jamaal Bailey. “A wind turbine should not be able to be taken down by the wind.”

Assemblyman Mike Benedetto claimed the monopole turbine was erected quickly “in order to try and make a buck.”  ...

Urban wind turbines of varying sizes are really just a greenwash exercise. In the UK we had a version for domestic and small businesses called the wind save (or more commonly Swindle-save). 

The unit here though looks like its installation was exceptionally shoddy. Falls into the same category as badly installed scaffolding or hoarding. 

Apart from recycling older smaller turbines on industrial parks the place for wind turbines are open plains and offshore. 

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