A System Safety Analysis of Renewable Energy Sources

A System Safety Analysis of Renewable Energy Sources

Warren Naylor
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8222-1.ch008
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This chapter is focused solely on whether renewable energies can be implemented safely and if they are safer than the technologies they are replacing or supplanting albeit in small quantities at the current pace of implementation. Renewable or sustainable energy sources are necessary due to the ultimate erosion of traditional energy sources and the harmful effects they introduce into the environment and negatively affect our health. Regardless of how you personally feel concerning renewable energy sources, they are here and here to stay. With that simple understanding, we should ensure these systems are safe. This chapter evaluates the hazards associated with renewable energies and compares and contrasts them to those hazards posed by the traditional or legacy fossil fuel energies. The advantages of renewable energies are palpable and discussed in great detail in the other chapters of this book. This chapter focuses specifically on the safety of the renewable energy systems.
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Wind Turbines

Before being able to conduct a system safety analysis, the analyst must understand the environment in which the system, in this case wind turbines, is to operate for normal, abnormal, and emergency conditions.

Wind turbines operate in an extremely complex and ever changing environment commonly referred to as the weather. Weather variations are understood by most; however wind turbines are not exclusively built for specific geographic weather conditions. Wind turbines must be built for all credible weather environments ranging from extreme dry heat (i.e., Sahara Desert) to extreme cold (i.e., Artic) or hot humid Ocean environments (i.e., Northern Indian Ocean), and for tornados and extreme electrical storms in the Mid-Western United States, flooding, et cetera. Thoughtful consideration of weather drives the design of wind turbines to consider all credible weather conditions. A universal wind turbine designed to meet the environmental challenges of temperature extremes, humidity and moisture concerns (corrosion), friction and chaffing, health, and environmental concerns, and stability concerns. Each of these hazards, complete with potential mitigations, will be discussed as follows:

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