There are many examples of when wind turbines have failed to function properly and as a result they can blow apart, catch fire or fall over. Here are just a couple of videos showing some of them. As man-made machines they do malfunction so it is only common sense that they be placed far enough from people so no one is harmed when it does happen. The following link is of one of the latest examples of one such failure causing pieces to fly over 200 meters away from the tower, one of which impacted the side of a house while the occupants were asleep.
A research article written by three aerospace engineers: A method for defining wind turbine setback standards, published in the journal Wind Energy, explains exactly how to calculate throw distances based on the operational specifications of specific wind turbine models. As an example, the throw distances calculated for three turbines were: 1,440 feet for a 650 KW turbine, 1,935 feet for a 1.5 MW turbine and 1,726 feet for the 3.0MW turbine.
The GE turbines being proposed for the Black Oak Wind Farm are 2.3MWs and Black Oak has stated they will place turbines “on average” 1,500 feet from residences. But during the December 17, 2015 meeting, Marguerite Wells, the project manager, stated that some turbines would be only around 1,000 feet from a residence. Based upon the measurements outlined above, this distance is not adequate to protect residents in or around their homes from a potential accident involving these turbines. Furthermore, most modern wind laws measure these setbacks from property lines, not residences, to further protect a resident’s property rights since it is unsafe to use or develop land within these distances.