Blade failure cause of area turbine collapse
“Blade failure” is blamed for the collapse of a wind tower at the Upstream Wind Energy farm north of Neligh.
Luke Hinkle, operations & maintenance manager for Upstream Wind Energy, briefed four members of the Antelope County Board of Commissioners (Allan Bentley was absent) Tuesday morning on the tower collapse which occurred July 5 at approximately 5:20 a.m.
The blade failure and subsequent disclosure that it was one of eight which sustained damage prior to being put into operation, led Antelope County Commissioner Dean Smith to say the wind turbines in question should be shut down until they have been inspected.
Hinkle said the blade was operating at full wind speed and the wind turbine was in full operation when the incident occurred, but there was no damage to the base.
The blade in question, Hinkle said, sustained significant damage as a result of two storms last summer. The blade was, he said, repaired by General Electric before being placed on the tower and put into operation. General Electric owns and maintains the blade prior to being installed, then they become the property of the wind farm, he said.
Hinkle said seven other blades were damaged as a result of the 2018 storms. He labeled damage to these blades as “cosmetic”.
Repairs were made by GE.
See the complete story in this week’s issue of The Elgin Review.