Fenner — A 113-foot blade from a wind turbine in the Fenner Wind Farm came unattached to its tower and plummeted 213 feet to the ground early this morning off Buyea Road. No people were injured and no property was damaged, according to Fenner town officials.
There were two big booms when it happened, one when it hit and then another when it probably flipped over,” said Fenner resident Dick Foringer, who lives across Buyea Road from turbine no. 18, about 900 feet away. “We didn’t know what it was.”
According to Fenner Town Clerk Paula Douglas the town received a call early this morning informing them that the blade had fallen off the turbine and the manufacturer said they thought the cause may be “bolt failure.”
Foringer said that about one week ago he and his wife heard loud noises that “sounded like gunshots” coming from turbine no. 18, “and now that this happened, I’m pretty sure something was going on with that turbine.”
Town Highway Superintendent Dan Smith said the manufacturer was scheduled to visit the site later today to assess the damage and investigate the cause of the blade detachment.
The Fenner Town Board held its regular monthly meeting today at 12:30 p.m. in the town office, during which the blade incident of the morning was briefly discussed.
Turbine no. 18 is different than the other 19 turbines at the wind farm, being a new prototype design when it was installed after the turbine collapsed in December 2009. Turbine no. 18 has different shaped blades than the others and has its generator at the bottom of the tower rather than at the top as the others do, according to the board discussion.
Foringer, who was present at the board meeting, took the opportunity to ask the board to intercede with the manufacturer during upcoming discussions to help make turbine no. 18 quieter. He said that particular turbine “makes a terrible whine that goes right through your house … you cannot escape it.” He said the other, older turbines make noise but “nothing like this,” and it has changed his quality of life.
Town Supervisor Dave Jones said he would discuss the noise of the turbine with the manufacturer.
The Fenner Wind Farm is owned by Canastota Wind Power LLC, a subsidiary of Enel North America. The windmills themselves are 328 feet in height and each weigh about 190 tons. The farm’s 20 turbines are 1.5 megawatt GE turbines for a total power of 30 megawatts. The energy they produce is carried through the 6.6 miles of electrical cable that is located under the farm and they produce enough energy for about 7,800 homes.