Cullerin Range wind farm fire investigation outcome

On January 5, 2023 a wind turbine at EDL’s Cullerin Range Wind Farm in regional New South Wales overheated and caught fire. There were no injuries, and the Rural Fire Service were immediately notified.

As the operations and maintenance provider of Cullerin Range Wind Farm, Vestas, has been working closely with EDL and regulatory authorities since the incident to ensure it was thoroughly investigated.

Over the past six months, a comprehensive investigation has been jointly conducted by EDL’s insurer and Vestas’ global incident team. As part of the investigation, all potential thermal ignition scenarios and components were thoroughly analysed including lightning strike, failed bearing, mechanical joint, lubrication, pitch motors, batteries, gearbox, alternator, and braking device. All possible scenarios were disproved with no definitive causes to the fire found.

A low voltage electrical panel within the nacelle is considered the most likely fire initiation location.

Vestas also undertook additional inspections across all turbine units at the Cullerin Range Wind Farm, revealing no abnormal findings.

EDL and Vestas are continuing to explore additional fire prevention and containment technologies.

A summary of the learnings and outcomes of this event and investigation is being shared with key industry stakeholders as well as the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner.