Spotlight on ethics: Balancing safety, costs, and the environment in the inspection of wind turbine blades

What health and safety, environmental, and legal policies affect offshore wind farms? If they are in the open sea, which country’s laws are applied? Who is responsible for maintaining ecosystem health in the open sea? How are harms identified and mitigated?

These are some of the questions posed in our Engineering Ethics Toolkit case study Balancing safety, costs, and the environment in the inspection of wind turbine blades.

This case study is based on a genuine challenge raised by a multinational energy company that operates an offshore wind farm in the North Sea. It involves three professional engineers responsible for various aspects of the project to negotiate elements of safety, risk, environmental impact, and costs, in order to develop a maintenance plan for the wind turbine blades.

We’ve provided this and other case studies – which include classroom activities and additional resources – for you to use and adapt in your teaching. We also have a growing library of guidance articles available to support you in your teaching, and an interactive Ethics Explorer to get you started.

If you would like to give feedback on this or any other Engineering Ethics resource, or submit your own content, you can do so here. We also have a newly created community of practice that you can join, where we hope that educators will support each other, and share their success stories of teaching engineering ethics. You can join our Ethics Ambassadors community here.


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