TRUTH: Concerns such as ice throw, turbine collapse, and blade throw are practically unheard of in modern wind turbines. Under certain conditions, ice can accumulate on the blades of a wind turbine, much like any other structure. When this ice is shed, it is known as ice throws. Turbine technology has accounted for this potential problem. Ice buildup on a turbine’s blades will slow its rotation and this speed decrease will be sensed by the turbine’s control system. When the system is alerted, the turbine will shut down, eliminating the threat of thrown ice. Rarely ice throw do occur, but they generally cause little harm. Proper setbacks from heavily trafficked areas and residences, which reduce noise concerns and can increase turbine productivity, also serve to protect people from rare occurrences such as ice throws.

Similarly, a rotor blade breaking off from the turbine hub, a situation referred to as a blade throw, is of little concern to public safety. In fact, modern wind turbines are so safe they effectively function near schools, near heavily populated communities, and on fields and farmland. Blade throws are reminiscent of the early 1970s when the modern wind industry first got its footing, but better turbine design and engineering have nearly eradicated the issue. Utility-scale wind turbines are certified to meet international engineering standards, which include ratings for withstanding various levels of hurricane-strength winds, among other criteria. There are thousands of turbines installed in the U.S. and worldwide that operate safely and reliably.

Furthermore, large wind turbines are outfitted with several safety features to ensure sound operation while in service. Turbines are equipped with sensors, speed protection, braking systems, and up-to-date rotor blades, to name a few. These elements ensure that utility-scale wind turbines operate safely as they produce clean, renewable energy, and shut off when conditions become too volatile for safe operation.

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