Wind energy has a crucial part to play in steering the earth away from a reliance on fossil fuels and ultimately reducing emissions and the devastating impacts of climate change. Yet when it comes to developing projects, the industry often faces local opposition from residents on tenuous grounds. But when it comes to fire risk, failing to take steps that address public concerns could result in a damaging reputational hit – particularly if a wind turbine does catch fire.
To pre-emptively combat, this, project owners must be transparent with local stakeholders about what measures have been taken to prevent and protect against wind turbine fires. This blog outlines three key reasons for transparency around wind turbine fire risk and steps taken to manage and mitigate any incidents.
1. Silence speaks even if the industry won’t
Turbine fires can happen, and when they do, they are highly visible. That is a fact that the industry can neither escape nor ignore. Silence and secrecy on the subject – and on whether assets have tools installed to combat fires – creates the impression that the wind industry does not care.
The industry should be transparent about the actions it is taking in the area of fire safety because that directly impacts the security of the surrounding locality. This would demonstrate that owners are invested in the wellbeing of the community as well as the safety of their project.
2. Fire safety transparency is already practiced in other industries
A high level of transparency around fire safety is the norm in other industries. Following multiple crises, full disclosure from fossil fuel players about safety methods has been demanded.
In July of 2021, the globe turned its attention to a fire that erupted in the Gulf of Mexico. The fire occurred because of a faulty oil line. This is a prime example of the kind of incident that has led oil and gas to be very transparent about the preventive measures it is taking.
Wind power has the opportunity to be proactive rather than wait for a major disaster.
3. To provide clarity in a time of climate volatility
Wind energy is set to be a key weapon in the fight against climate change. But as the sector grows, it must contend with the damage that global warming is already inflicting on the planet. Greater fire safety is required as incidents caused by climate change become more frequent. As climate patterns shift, it becomes more likely that extreme weather will put wind assets at risk. High levels of heat combined with wind can prove to be a dangerous combination that the industry must safeguard against.
Weather forecasting predicts the summer of 2021 is set to be dangerously hot and across the globe. Many countries are experiencing some of the hottest weather on record. However, this summer could be one of the coolest when future generations come to reflect.
Because of scorching conditions and droughts, wildfires are at the forefront of people’s minds. By demonstrating that fire suppression has been installed, owners can give local communities peace of mind that nearby turbines aren’t an additional risk.
As the effects of climate change become more prevalent, wind energy can be a source of reassurance. They can serve as a reminder that clean energy alternatives are being well-developed and won’t cause similar issues found with fossil fuels. As climate challenges increase and act as a catalyst for future disasters, the wind industry can prevent such catastrophes, uphold previously established standards of transparency, and reduce fears that may be brewing within the general public around wind turbine fires by taking proactive fire safety measures.