May 8, 2014 by lmorgan · Comments Off
Invenergy, owner of the Prairie Breeze Wind Energy wind farm, issued a statement Wednesday, May 7, regarding the recent failure of blades on two separate wind turbine towers. The statement was made following an inquiry on the replacement of defective GE blades this past winter.
“The turbine manufacturer, General Electric (GE), had determined that a limited number of blades on turbines at the Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Center needed to be replaced due to a manufacturing defect, and completed doing so this past winter.”
Officials at GE and Invenergy have declined to state the number of wind turbine blades found to be defective and replaced during the winter months.
May 8, 2014 by lmorgan · Comments Off
“It sounded like sheet metal falling down.”
That’s how rural resident Jerry Kallhoff described the structural failure of a wind turbine blade which broke off a Prairie Breeze Wind Energy tower Sunday afternoon at a location southwest of Elgin.
The turbine, the project’s 11th unit, remains non-operational at this time as we work with the turbine manufacturer, GE, to determine the cause of this incident.
Turbine #11 is located about a quarter-mile south of the intersection of 835th Road and 515th Avenue in Antelope County, approximately 8 miles west of the city of Elgin.
Kallhoff said he was out in his yard working when he heard a loud noise come from the south. When he looked up, he saw pieces of a wind turbine blade falling to the ground from a wind tower located just over a mile from his house.
It marks the second time in less than two weeks that there has been a structural failure on a wind turbine blade.
On April 21, a similar failure took place on the wind farm’s 51st unit located northwest of Petersburg in Boone County.
In both cases, immediately after the structural failure, the wind turbines ceased operation.
During the construction phase of the wind farm, it was determined that a number of GE wind turbine blades would have to be replaced due to abnormalities discovered after the blades were installed on wind turbines.
At that time, December 2013, Invenergy announced that General Electric would be replacing a limited number of turbine blades. According to GE spokesperson Katelyn Buress, GE identified a number of blades that have been impacted by an anomaly in the manufacturing process.”
The Elgin Review has learned the Prairie Breeze wind turbines use the same model blade, a 48.7 meter blade, which have been found to have structural defects at other wind farms in the U.S.
In December, Joseph Bebon of North American Windpower (NAW) reported that the Invenergy-owned Orangeville Wind Farm in New York State used the same blades and had similar problems. Bebon reported that “following a thorough investigation, GE says a “spar cap manufacturing anomaly” was to blame for the recent blade breaks at the Orangeville Wind Farm in New York and Echo Wind Park in Michigan. Echo Wind Park is not owned by Invenergy.
Bebon reported that a spar cap is a “key structural element within the blade that carries the bending load of the blade.”
In November 2013, NAW reported four GE blade breaks had occurred this year, all of which involved 48.7-meter blades. Two of the affected wind farms were still undergoing construction or commissioning, and the other two were operational.
May 2, 2014 by lmorgan · Comments Off
Invenergy Wind LLC (“Invenergy”) today announced the completion of construction and start of commercial operation of its 200.6 MW Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Center (“Prairie Breeze”) in Nebraska.
The project is sited on private land in Antelope, Boone, and Madison Counties. Prairie Breeze consists of 118 GE 1.7 MW wind turbines, with output purchased by the Omaha Public Power District (“OPPD”) under long-term agreement.
“Prairie Breeze is Invenergy’s first wind farm in Nebraska, a state which offers one of the nation’s best wind resources,” said Jim Shield, Chief Development Officer at Invenergy. “We’re proud to invest in Nebraska and in the economic future of the project area. Invenergy appreciates the strong support for this project, and we are committed to sustaining a long and successful relationship with our host community.”
“The issue of renewable energy is an important one to the stakeholders of OPPD, especially as we look to the future. OPPD remains strongly committed to providing affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive services to our customers,” said OPPD Vice President of Corporate Service Sherrye Hutcherson. “We will continue to evaluate opportunities, like Prairie Breeze, where it makes good sense to expand our renewable energy portfolio.”
“OPPD voluntarily committed to produce 10 percent renewable energy for retail sales by 2020. With this project, we will already surpass that goal,” added Dean Mueller, Division Manager of Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship for OPPD. “In fact, by 2017, OPPD will have a renewable energy portfolio of 30 percent. You can only have that sort of progress when you have solid projects.”
Community economic benefits from Prairie Breeze include tax payments, lease payments to landowners, and staff salaries. More than 230 skilled workers constructed the wind farm, with Blattner Energy serving as general contractor. A full-time staff of thirteen now operates and maintains the facility.
Invenergy and its affiliated companies develop, own and operate large-scale renewable and other clean energy generation facilities in North America and Europe. Invenergy is committed to clean power alternatives and continued innovation in electricity generation. Invenergy’s home office is located in Chicago and it has regional development offices throughout the United States, and in Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Europe.
Invenergy has developed more than 8,000 MW of clean energy projects that are in operation, in construction, or under contract, including 65 wind, solar, and natural gas power facilities. For more information, visit www.invenergyllc.com.
May 1, 2014 by lmorgan · Comments Off
Invenergy, owner of the Prairie Breeze Wind Energy farm south of Elgin has announced two events to formally kick off operations.
Two ceremonies are being planned. According to Alissa Krinsky, director of communications for the corporation based out of Chicago, an official ribbon cutting will be held on Wednesday, June 25, at the Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Center Operations & Maintenance building on the northwest edge of Elgin. The building is currently under construction.
A second event, a community open house, will be held Saturday, June 28 from 9 a.m. to noon. The public is welcome to attend the open house.
Operations are expected to formally commence at the Center sometime in May.
“We’re excited to be part of the community,” Krinsky said.
April 24, 2014 by lmorgan · Comments Off
During the past several days, one of the wind turbine blades on this Prairie Breeze Wind Farm tower northwest of Petersburg sustained damage. The cause of the damage has yet to be determined. But, it’s safe to say repairs will need to be made before it becomes operational. E-R photo
Here’s a statement from Invenergy, owner of the Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Farm
Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Center
“At approximately 1:00 p.m. CDT on Monday, April 21, a blade on a turbine at our Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Center experienced a structural failure, with a section of the blade falling to the ground. No one was injured.
This occurred at the facility’s 51st unit, located east of the intersection of 170th Avenue and 125th Street in Boone County, northwest of the village of Petersburg and southwest of the city of Elgin.
The turbine ceased operation, and is not being operated at this time while we work with GE, the turbine manufacturer, to determine the cause of this incident.”