Wind Turbine Fire During Scottish Gales Was 'Freak Incident'
Renewable energy experts have dismissed an incident where a wind turbine caught fire in gale force winds as a "freak" occurrence.
The 328ft (100m) tall turbine, at Ardrossan Wind Farm, near the A78 in North Ayrshire, was destroyed after it exploded into flames which could be seen "far and wide".
Charles Anglin, of RenewableUK, the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries, stressed that wind turbines were regularly subjected to "some pretty tough conditions" without problems.
He said: "There's some pretty freak weather going on and any piece of large power generating equipment can be subject to freak accidents or mechanical faults.
"But there's an excellent health and safety record, and it was only a small fire in a field that was put out before the fire brigade got there, and no one was hurt. In stressful situations any power equipment may develop faults, and that's true of gas, nuclear, oil, and is also true of wind."
Forecasters said conditions would offer some respite from the hurricane winds which have battered parts of the country.
Scotland and northern England have been the worst-affected areas with a top wind speed of 165mph recorded on the summit of the Cairngorms in Aberdeenshire on Thursday, according to the Met Office.
It led to thousands of schools closing and cut off power to tens of thousands of homes, but forecasters said the worst of the winds will be confined to north-east Scotland and the Shetland Isles. All major bridges were closed in Scotland as wind blew over an articulated lorry on the A87 in Glenshiel in the Highlands, but the driver was not hurt.
ScottishPower said it had reconnected more than 18,000 customers who lost power because of more than 100 individual faults. Meanwhile, Scottish Hydro said that at the storm's peak, around 105,000 customers were left without power as a result of more than 400 separate major incidents affecting the electricity network in the north of Scotland and Western and Northern Isles. It said work was continuing to restore electricity to more than 70,000 customers.
Meanwhile, PricewaterhouseCoopers warned that the bad weather could be cooling the Scottish economy by around £100 million as the early closure of shops, power outages, road closures delaying or halting deliveries, and employees taking time off take their toll.