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30th January 2013

Wind Turbine disaster

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The news that a 115ft wind turbine constructed in Devon just 3 years ago at a cost of £250,000 has collapsed after being hit by heavy winds,

 is a reminder that these types of projects are not without risks, both during and after construction. The reports indicate that the turbine; described as now being a “mangled wreck”, collapsed after the ten storey building tall structure was hit by gale force gusts of 50mph, which had previously been regarded as a wind strength that was well within the capacity of the turbine to sustain. There had also been recent hail storms and strong winds which had hit the area and it appears that the bolts on the base could not withstand the wind.

Hewitsons partner, Colin Jones, who advises land owners and other customers on project agreements for wind turbines and other forms of CleanTech installation, commented that the news of the Devon turbine collapse highlighted the need for customers, as well as suppliers, to ensure that contract terms are sufficiently robust to account for the risk of turbine failure. This could include the unusual events such as a collapse, but also the less dramatic but possibly more common place periodic failures and loss of use, resulting in a reduction in anticipated power output and income where power is supplied to the Grid. Understanding the complex provisions typically included in suppliers’ terms and conditions, including the warranties that are provided and the limits that are placed on potential liabilities, is of great importance when considering such major and long term investments.

Colin Jones can be contacted for a free initial consultation on colinjones@hewitsons.com