Article

Cracks appear in Flat Ridge turbines

Just three months after starting electrical production, the blades on the wind turbines at the Flat Ridge Wind Farm in Barber County are developing small surface cracks. Clipper Windpower of Carpinteria, Calif. provides the wind turbines that are produced by another manufacturer. The problem was discovered at another Clipper project site, said Mary Gates, director of global communications for Clipper Windpower. ..."It was a quality control deficiency with the suppliers process," Gates said.

Pratt, Kan. - Just three months after starting electrical production, the blades on the wind turbines at the Flat Ridge Wind Farm in Barber County are developing small surface cracks.

Clipper Windpower of Carpinteria, Calif. provides the wind turbines that are produced by another manufacturer. The problem was discovered at another Clipper project site, said Mary Gates, director of global communications for Clipper Windpower.

The cracks are easily repairable and do not pose a safety issue, Gates said.

The cracks are a result of a manufacturing defect. The manufacturer's warrantee will cover the repairs, said Leonard Allen, senior communications representative for Westar that owns half the units.

All 40 generators at Flat Ridge are being inspected.

"The inspection is on going and they (Clipper) are getting ready to make repairs as needed," Allen said.

During the manufacturing process numerous layers of laminate are used to make the fiberglass blades. During that process little folds develop that build up in a very defined location on the blades that will eventually lead to small cracks in the blades and cause pealing, Gates said.

"It was a quality control deficiency with the suppliers process,"... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Pratt, Kan. - Just three months after starting electrical production, the blades on the wind turbines at the Flat Ridge Wind Farm in Barber County are developing small surface cracks.

Clipper Windpower of Carpinteria, Calif. provides the wind turbines that are produced by another manufacturer. The problem was discovered at another Clipper project site, said Mary Gates, director of global communications for Clipper Windpower.

The cracks are easily repairable and do not pose a safety issue, Gates said.

The cracks are a result of a manufacturing defect. The manufacturer's warrantee will cover the repairs, said Leonard Allen, senior communications representative for Westar that owns half the units.

All 40 generators at Flat Ridge are being inspected.

"The inspection is on going and they (Clipper) are getting ready to make repairs as needed," Allen said.

During the manufacturing process numerous layers of laminate are used to make the fiberglass blades. During that process little folds develop that build up in a very defined location on the blades that will eventually lead to small cracks in the blades and cause pealing, Gates said.

"It was a quality control deficiency with the suppliers process," Gates said.

Clipper identified the problem during a root cause analysis, the manufacturing problem was corrected and the defective blades were quickly fixed in the field at the original site.

Because the process was used on all the blades at Flat Ridge Wind Farm, Clipper has decided to make repairs on all the blades instead of trying to figure out which ones will crack, Gates said.

The cracks are showing up at Flat Ridge. Those turbines were will be shut down until repairs can be made. A big crane will arrive at the site towards the end of June and either remove the individual blades or the rotor with the blades attached, lower it to the ground, make repairs then replace the unit.

The units will be repaired six or seven at a time while the rest of the farm continues to operate.
The cracks have not affected output at the farm. Performance levels have not changed since the cracks were discovered during an inspection, Allen said.

"Everything is working smoothly," he said.

The turbines have performed well since they went on line and continued to work beautifully even with the cracks, Gates said.

The entire repair process is expected to take about three months but the exact length of repair time will depend on the weather.

"The process will start at the end of June and finish sometime in September," Gates said.

BP Alternative Energy North America, based in Houston, Texas, developed the site located in Barber County northeast of Medicine Lodge touching the southwest corner of Kingman County.

The site was chosen because of access to high voltage and high capacity transmission lines and the wind conditions are favorable. The project was announced in June 2008.

The approximate cost of Flat Ridge Wind Farm is $100 million. The site covers 5,000 acres and has 40 units that generate 100,000 megawatts of power, enough to serve 30,000 homes. Each blade is 150 feet long and the hub is 262 feet above ground level. The turbines are about the size of a Winnebago motor home.


Source: http://www.pratttribune.com...

JUN 12 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/20621-cracks-appear-in-flat-ridge-turbines
back to top