PAYNE - For now, the Timber Road II Wind Farm in Paulding County is silent except for investigators trying to determine exactly why two blades from a single turbine were damaged on a windy afternoon April 24. So far, the high winds do not appear to have caused the damage.
EDP Renewables Vice President of Communications and Government Affairs Roby Roberts told the Times Bulletin on Friday that so far crews from turbine manufacturer Vestas have not been able to determine the cause of the blade shear which damaged the turbine and forced the shutdown of all 55 turbines owned by EDP.
"Something like this happening is extremely rare," Roberts stated. "We're not 100 percent sure what happened."
What is known is that around 12:45 p.m. two of the blades of the turbine at turbine location 68 (along Paulding County Rd. 70 about one mile east of State Line Rd.) sheared. Debris from the fiberglass/carbon fiber composite material composing the blades was blown into a nearby field and some larger pieces fell close to the tower itself. No one was hurt by falling debris. EDP personnel notified the Ohio Power Siting Board and inspected the site to be sure there were no immediate safety issues. The entire wind farm, located in southwestern Paulding County was immediately shut down to allow an investigation to begin. Roberts confirmed that the blades will not begin turning again until everyone is satisfied that there are no remaining issues.
"We will make sure it is 100 percent safe, conferring with all those involved, before moving forward," he pledged. "At this time, inspectors are analyzing the blades and trying to determine what happened."
Roberts said that cranes will be used to take down the damaged blades in the next few days. Those cranes were observed already on site Friday afternoon. The blades of all the other turbines will be inspected as part of the safety process as well, but the odds are astronomical against any other problems being found.
"Vestas has probably 60,000 wind turbines in operation around the world," Roberts continued. "This just doesn't happen."
The issue with the Timber Road II Wind Farm is having no effect on the other 172 turbines that are a part of the Blue Creek Wind Farm operated by Iberdrola Renewables. That project is in the final stages before going completely on line.
At this point Roberts is unsure when the blades on each of the $3 million dollar turbines will again start turning and generating electricity.
We will start up again when everything is ready to go. Hopefully that's sooner rather than later," he remarked.