Increasing investments in renewable energy resources has led, in recent years, to the significant growth of wind energy and an associated increase in wind farm installations in many countries. However, the installation of wind turbines has very often been completed in the absence of specific requirements and limitations (e.g. minimum safety distances) with regard to possible interference with other infrastructures such as buried pipelines. Although the mechanical failure of wind turbines is reportedly considered an unlikely event, the significant energy associated with possible impacts of wind turbine parts (blades, nacelles, etc.) falling to the ground has the potential of creating massive dynamic overpressures within the soil that could threaten the integrity of services buried nearby. This article describes the state of the art approach to assessing possible impacts on buried pipelines due to this relatively new hazard and presents future developments.
In particular, the following are detailed:
- a probabilistic analysis of relevant wind turbine failure scenarios,
- example of design conditions and requirements for assessing pipeline routes near wind farms,
- use of simplified static elastic models to predict possible effects of wind turbine collapse above buried pipelines,
- preview of innovative approaches using more refined dynamic-viscoelastic-hardening models.