Library filed under Structural Failure from New York
I write here a cautionary warning for those who may mistakenly think that today’s wind energy is that quaint throwback to olden days. Old –fashioned windmills were not connected with miles and miles of high voltage underground and overhead wires. If your rural community is presently under siege by a mega-billion industrial scale wind turbine developer, Buyer beware. (Editor's note: The incident described in this piece involving the turbine failure occurred the week of August 27, 2018)
Because the turbines go so high into the air, they are prone to lightning strikes, but the structures are built with a special grounding system, so that if they are struck by lightning, the lightning goes into the ground without harm to the unit. But it doesn't always work, as seen by the damage to the turbine in Fairfield.
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 about 900 feet away. ...Editor's note: Mr. Foringer confirmed by phone that the initial impact crater was 323 feet from the base of the turbine. The blade then bounced, and ultimately landed 471 feet from the base.
Fenner town officials said it's the same 187-ton windmill - No. 18 of 20 - that collapsed in December 2009. It was replaced with a new wind turbine, Douglas said.
Reeves said when Smithfield and Morrisville fire departments arrived at the scene, it was determined the generator housing was ablaze, sending flames up the tip of one of the blades. The departments determined letting it safely burn down was the best course of action.
The replacement program follows blade failure on Nov. 17, 2013, at the wind farm’s 34th tower, near Centerline Road and Route 20A. The blade fell to the ground at the base of the turbine ...An analysis revealed the break was caused by a spar cap issue. A spar cap is located on both sides of the blade. It essentially gives the blade strength, and is made from composite materials.
“GE has identified a discrete set of blades that could have been subject to this anomaly and we are working with potentially affected customers to help ensure the reliability of our wind turbines and their safe operation,” the officials said in the release.
“Out of caution, all turbine commissioning and turbine operations at the wind farm have been suspended,” Invenergy says. “We are working with GE, the turbine manufacturer, to determine the cause of this incident. Following a GE blade break on Nov. 7, utility DTE Energy has also ceased work on its 112 MW Echo Wind Park in Michigan. Scott Simons, a DTE Energy spokesperson, recently told NAW that GE was performing a reliability test on a turbine when the blade fell.
The turbine’s commissioning had begun Wednesday and the unit was operating at the time, Invenergy officials said in a statement. “Out of caution, all turbine commissioning and turbine operations at the wind farm have been suspended,” the statement reads.
Gay's home in Varysburg is surrounded by wind turbines - 58 of them. The General Electric 1.6 megawatt turbines were recently installed by Invenergy at the Orangeville Wind Farm. Each individual blade is 160 feet long and weighs 200,000 pounds.
Recently there have been several units shut down while 10 blades were repaired. If each came from a different turbine it would mean the wind farm was producing 10% less electricity than planned while the turbines were out of service. It could also support the contention that the life of wind farms will be less than planned.
Noble Environmental Power brought in a basket crane recently to get a closer look at the damage caused to a wind turbine in Altona Wind Park on Jan. 29. "What they were able to see when they were up there was limited," said John Bahouth, Noble's vice president of human resources and communications.
Turbines at Noble Environmental's Bliss wind energy facility in New York were found leaking oil from the nacelle. NY's Department of Environmental Conservation has been called to investigate.
A GE wind turbine owned and operated by Noble Environmental caught fire in high wind conditions. Firefighters were not equipped to address the fire. The cause of the fire is unknown.
Flames were consuming the top portion of a wind turbine behind the Rand Hill Dairy Farm, which is across the street from their house. "The fire caught one of the blades and made it look like a Roman candle," Phil said. "There was a snow squall that night, but we could see the flames burning right through it."
Authorities are investigating what caused a wind turbine to catch fire in Northern New York. ...Two years ago a turbine at the same park came crashing down when the blades spun out-of-control in high winds.
A fire in one of the 400 foot turbines at a Noble Environmental wind facility in Altona New York. The cause of the fire is not known. High wind condtions were reported.
Megan Gollwitzer, spokesperson for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, said approximately 400 gallons of transformer oil, a mineral oil product, was released into the area immediately surrounding the base of the wind turbine. ...Approximately 45 tons of affected soil from the area where the spill occurred was collected and removed for off-site disposal at a regulated landfill, Gollwitzer said.
On January 16 (2012) a transformer failed at a wind turbine located in Wethersfield NY. The turbine is owned by Noble Environmental. Scorch marks appear far above the vehicles on the ground. State workers are investigating the fire and overseeing the oil spill cleanup caused by the failure.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, begun in 2008 to curb emissions of carbon dioxide through state auctions of pollution permits, is facing a glut of devalued permits caused by a rapid, unexpected drop in carbon dioxide emissions. "Everyone is swimming in RGGI permits."