Victorian Country Fire Authority’s Claim that Wind Turbines Not Combustible Scorched
During the Senate Inquiry’s first hearing into the great wind power fraud, the Committee had to listen to a number of wind industry backed patsies and stooges.
Among them were a pair from Victoria’s Country Fire Authority (CFA): Craig Brownlie (Operations Officer, Specialist Response) andAndrew Andreou (Executive Manager, Community Infrastructure).
When the pair were quizzed by Senator David Leyonhjelm on the “cause of the East Kilmore fire on Black Saturday  and how many people died in it” (one of the worst bushfires in Victoria’s history and the subject of very public findings given after a lengthy Royal Commission) they both drew blanks, asked if they could “phone a friend”, and take the question on notice.
So comforting to hear that the Victorian CFA’s Top Brass have such a solid grip on their brief! For a frightening (for those who place faith in their fire authorities and their ability to protect them and their properties) trip into the bizarre, see the Hansard here.
Things went from the sublime to the ridiculous, as the CFA boys tried to downplay the risk of turbines spontaneously combusting – a tough ask, given the hundreds of pyrotechnic meltdowns recorded both here and around the world:
But it was this exchange in which Andrew Andreou’s limited grip on reality came to the fore, as he was caught out parroting the wind industry line on turbine fires, that really caught the Committee’s attention:
Senator BACK: Do you have any idea of what the volume of oil would be up in the top of the wind turbines? It is probably the oil more than plastics that are likely to burn.
Mr Andreou: I am aware that non-combustible oils are generally used these days for lubricant, hydraulics and the like. That is the type. I could not give you exact figures on the quantities. I know that they are significant quantities, but, no, I could not provide you with the detail of the exact quantities.
CHAIR: You said that the oil is non-combustible. Would you be able to take on notice what that statement is based on, gentlemen? What information do you have to rely on that it is not combustible oil used in the gearboxes of the turbines?
Mr Andreou: We have been reliant on the information provided by the facility managers or owners.
CHAIR: Would you take that on notice and come back to the committee with where that information has been obtained from?
Mr Andreou: That is fine; we will do that.
Hansard, 30 March 2015
The “information” that Andrew Andreou was relying on came from none other than struggling Danish fan maker, Vestas, you know the boys who ran around a couple of years back telling us all to “Act on Facts” (see our post here).
Well, here’s a few that the CFA boys missed. A Vestas V112 3MW turbine – the kind used at Macarthur – holds the following “chemicals”, according to their specifications:
The hydraulic system has about 100 litres of hydraulic fluid in reserve; and to keep the gearbox lubricated requires 1,170 litres of gear oil; which sits in the gearbox sump and a reservoir (“external gravity tank), all housed in the nacelle:
The CFA’s claims that 1,000 (or more) litres of gear oil won’t explode in a thrilling pyrotechnic display are pure bunkum.
So here’s a little video, and some snaps, from Estonia of a recent turbine “flame-out”, that tends to undermine the CFA’s upbeat fire safety predictions about wind turbines, in general; and its ludicrous – wind industry backed – claim that a tonne of gear oil and hydraulic fluid has the same combustibility as H2O: