There are today over twenty wind turbine fires annually worldwide, causing up to 5 million € economic loss per fire. Causes include lightening, mechanical / gear / rotor breakage, bearing friction, overheating, sparks from mechanical problems or from braking, electrical failures (short circuits, arcing, batteries, overheating). Fires are often exacerbated by combustible materials. Access for firefighters is generally difficult or impossible (site, height of nacelle). Costs of fire include removal and replacement of destroyed turbine and equipment (often at inaccessible sites), loss of electricity generation revenue and image damage to the industry. Fire protection measures cited include heat and fire detection systems, monitoring systems, automatic extinguishing systems, lightening protection, electrical fuses and circuit breakers and fire protective coatings and fire safety treated materials. The authors note that there are nearly no fire safety standards for wind turbines, only EU Directive 2006/42 defining standards for machines in general, US NFPA 850 for electricity generation, some Spanish standards for turbine maintenance practices.
“Fire risk assessments and fire protection measures for wind turbines: A review”, F. You et al., Heliyon 9 (2023) e19664 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e19664