The video below shows the most spectacular video of a windmill failure I’ve ever seen. There aren’t a lot of details on the intertubes but I have found a couple of articles from Danish newspapers one in English and the other not. The windmill was a ten year old Vestas windmill located in Aarhus Denmark. Piecing together blog comments, the articles and, my own knowledge, this is what appears to have happened. A large storm came through the area, the central monitoring station detected that the main and backup safety braking systems had failed in this particular unit. They sent a crew to make sure the area was secure and to observe the failing windmill, after a few hours the result is shown in the video. While this was clearly a dangerous situation, the fact that the operators had ample warning to get there to observe the failure clearly shows that these types of problems should not be a cause for panic by the public. In general windmill’s are a safe and effective method of generating power, the failures usually have only economic consequences for the owners.
Hat tip to Phil Plait from Bad Astronomy for pointing me to this story.