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Risk assessment: TÜV NORD opens up more wind turbine sites

22.09.2014: TÜV NORD has completed a risk assessment study for a new wind turbine power generator proposed by the company HAMBURG WASSER for operation adjacent to a hazard potential facility within the Port of Hamburg.

TÜV NORD has completed a risk assessment study for a new wind turbine power generator proposed by the company HAMBURG WASSER for operation adjacent to a hazard potential facility within the Port of Hamburg. The inspectors from TÜV NORD confirmed the exceptionally high safety standard of this wind turbine, and based on this, the responsible authority issued approval for its construction and operation. The wind turbine, which has been in operation since the end of July, could provide a precedent in Germany in opening up new siting options for wind turbines. “Such site specific risk assessments for wind turbines and subsequent approvals are practically unheard of in Germany, despite the urgent need for additional wind turbine sites”, explains Erika Moch, Independent Specialist to §29a BImSchG (Federal Immissions Control Law) at TÜV NORD.

Lacking offsets and clearances to adjacent buildings and facilities are often the reasons why construction permits for wind turbines are refused. An even higher level of scrutiny is required for potential wind turbine sites adjacent to hazardous material facilities such as adjacent to chemical plants or hazardous material handling terminals. As suitable sites for wind turbines are limited in Germany, the offset distances between potential wind turbine locations and hazard potential facilities continue to decrease.

In order to safely utilize such risk inherent locations, it must not only be demonstrated that construction and operation of a wind turbine will cause no hazards, significant disadvantages or inconveniences to the neighbourhood but also, in particular, that it will not cause any major accidents as defined by Seveso II Directive in adjacent hazard potential facilities. In such cases, a safety assessment according to § 29a of the Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG) is required. Independent Specialists from TÜV NORD are trained to carry out the inspections and risk analyses, and if necessary recommend additional measures to ensure the required level of safety.

The lack of safe clearances to the adjacent industrial and commercial facilities at the Köhlbrandhöft site in the Port of Hamburg led to an impact assessment study within the context of § 29a for a proposed wind turbine . The owner and operator, HAMBURG WASSER, retained TÜV NORD for this study. As part of this study, TÜV NORD assessed the wind turbine safety provisions as they related to the site specific requirements with the result that in July 2014, the authorities approved the construction and commissioning of the approximately 200 m high wind turbine power generation facility with a net output of 3 Megawatt.

“Even a favourable outcome from a risk assessment study does not guarantee the authority’s approval. However, in the case of the wind turbine at the Port of Hamburg, our detailed study, which findings were confirmed by a peer review, successfully demonstrated the particularly high safety standard of this wind turbine. The peer reviewed assessment provided the authority with the necessary confidence for an approval of the proposed wind turbine”, says Moch.

About TÜV NORD GROUP

With over 10,000 employees, TÜV NORD GROUP is one of the largest technical service providers, offering its advisory, service and inspection expertise in over 70 countries throughout the world. Areas of activity include Industrial Services, Mobility, IT and Training. TÜV NORD GROUP occupies a unique position in the sector based on its work in the fields of natural resources and aerospace and is firmly committed to its guiding principle and watchword: “Excellence for your business”.

Annika Burchard

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