BEATRICE – One of the wind turbine towers in the Steele Flats Wind Farm near Diller, has collapsed. The tower is a half-mile west of Nebraska Highway 103 and one mile north of Nebraska Highway 8. The tower is part of the $138 million wind farm, developed by Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources, which includes 32 wind turbines in southeast Jefferson County and 12 more in southwest Gage County.
NextEra Energy spokesman Bryan Garner says the company is investigating the cause of the collapse.
Garner says the turbine went off-line shortly before 5 a.m., Tuesday.
The maker of the wind turbine is General Electric. Garner says there’s no evidence of sabotage and he says the manufacturer will be able to help the company look into the cause of the failure. He says there are occasionally issues with this type of equipment, but it is rare. There were no injuries and no one around the structure, when it fell. Garner says it’s not certain how long it will take to replace the turbine. All other wind towers in the project continue to function.
The project generates 75 megawatts of electricity, connected to a Nebraska Public Power District substation at Steele City. The NextEra wind farm is located on about 10,500 acres of agricultural land in Jefferson and Gage Counties. It was the first wind project in Nebraska, for NextEra.
The wind farm can generate enough electricity to power approximately 19,000 homes. It began commercial operation in October of 2013.