Will the Minister make a statement on the process and timescale for investigating the catastrophic structural failure of a wind turbine on the Pant-y-Wal windfarm in the Ogmore constituency?
A single wind turbine has collapsed at the Pant-y-Wal wind development. We have been in regular contact with the owner, Pennant Walters, to seek assurances that public safety is being prioritised, particularly in relation to maintenance and the condition of the turbines on site. The wind farm has ongoing proactive maintenance provided through a 15 year contract with the manufacturer, Nordex GMBH. A permanent team of 7 technicians from Nordex, the manufacturer of the turbine and the contractor responsible for ongoing maintenance, is based at the Pant-y-Wal site.
Nordex specialist investigation teams were immediately deployed to the site and have started a forensic investigation into the incident. The timeframe for the conclusion of the investigation has been hampered by the exceptionally stormy weather, but is likely to take some weeks.
Regulation of the maintenance and monitoring of wind turbines is a reserved matter. British Standards (BS EN 61400) govern turbine design and are based on the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards. Part 1 specifies essential design requirements to ensure the structural integrity of wind turbines and provide an appropriate level of protection against damage from all hazards during the planned lifetime of the turbine. Organisations approved by the certifying authorities provide independent certification and inspection for governments and investors.
Incidents of this kind are extremely rare. 1200 turbines of this model have been in operation in the UK for over 10 years. We understand this is the first failure and appears to be an isolated event.
We understand the owner and the turbine manufacturer are committed to identifying the root cause of this collapse and ensuring it does not happen again. I would encourage both the owner and manufacturer to publicly report on the outcome of the investigation and any action needed.