Page last updated at 10:46 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Blade snaps off huge wind turbine

Whitelee wind farm
The incident at Whitelee wind farm happened on Friday

An investigation is under way at Europe's largest onshore wind farm in East Renfrewshire after a 150ft blade snapped off a turbine.

The incident, at about 0200 GMT on Friday, led to Whitelee wind farm, near Eaglesham, being temporarily shut down.

ScottishPower Renewables, which runs the site, said the cause was unknown but mechanical failure and a lightning strike were being considered.

A safety check on all 140 turbines should be completed by Friday.

The damaged turbine was automatically shut down after sensors alerted the wind farm's 24-hour control room to the problem.

All turbines at the site were then taken offline while engineers began an inspection.

'Highly unusual'

By Tuesday morning 65 turbines had been inspected and returned to operation.

A full inspection of the wind farm is expected to be completed by 26 March.

Keith Anderson, managing director of ScottishPower Renewables, said: "This type of incident is exceptionally rare and highly unusual.

"However, the safety of our people and the public is our first priority.

"While the investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing our engineers continue to conduct an internal and external examination of all turbine blades at the wind farm."

The Whitelee wind farm currently has 140 turbines. Approval has been granted for a further 39 turbines.

The wind turbines, which are built by Siemens, are about 360ft high.

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