Do Wind Turbine Blades Ever Come Off? – UPDATED

Wind turbine blade from a nearby training display hits daycare center

Wind turbine blade from a nearby training display, not a working turbine, hits daycare center

In the same way that you don’t usually think about wind turbine fires, you probably don’t think about wind turbine blades coming loose and flying off, either, but they do. As the recent storms rolled through Oklahoma, the blade shown above came off and hit a daycare center a quarter mile away. Corrected – see below. Of course, this isn’t supposed to happen and wind proponents will tell you it almost never does and this was a really bad storm, so, never mind.

UPDATE: – A comment on this post said the blade shown above came from a display nearby, not from a working turbine. On initial investigation, the only display blade found was in Weatherford, Oklahoma some 30 to 40 miles from the daycare center above, however, a news story yesterday says the blade was from a training program in fiberglass repair at the Canadian Valley Technology Center, so the commenter was correct. This blade was at the school.

173 foot wind turbine blade comes off during the night at Octillo wind farm

173 foot wind turbine blade comes off during the night at Octillo wind farm

Well, just a few weeks earlier, in mid May, a Siemens model B53 wind turbine blade came off at the Ocotillo wind turbine farm east of San Diego. The blade was 173 feet long and it didn’t happen during a storm, it just came off during the night. This is a new installation, just 6 months from brand new, not an old worn out turbine. Winds at the time were between 9 and 19 mph with gusts of 29 mph, something you would get on a regular basis wherever wind turbines are installed and certainly something we would expect to see here in North East.

Then, just one month earlier, on April 5th, the same model B53 blade came off a turbine at MidAmerican Energy’s Eclipse wind farm in Iowa.

Siemens has curtailed operations at all wind farms worldwide using this model blade because this doesn’t, … isn’t supposed to, … rarely, …shouldn’t ever happen. Except it does.

Anywhere in North East is too close

As supervisors consider wind turbine setback requirements for the ordinance now under review, and when they hear from the wind developer that you can ignore the manufacturer’s own recommended safety guidelines, because, … well because they said so, these “never supposed to happen” events provide some food for thought.

Township officials should look at these photos and think about what would happen if one of those blades broke free from a 500 foot wind turbine in North East and hit someone’s house or car or the people nearby. Are they ready to explain why putting wind turbines up close to buildings, property and people is safe? Are they ready to accept responsibility for any damages or injuries that may occur? Or are they going to roll the dice and gamble with our safety?

Link: Twitter – Ginger Zee – credit for Oklahoma photo
Link: – California – credit for Octillo photo


  1. Teresa Sculley says

    I’m thinking safety first when thinking about wind turbines. A safety first would be these dinosaurs can’t step on us because they are stationary! Right! Wrong! Now I’m thinking safety first? Those paddles can swat at us as if we were little bugs! I’m thinking safety first means keep them away from people. Unlike the wind turbines, people do wander on to private property and could get up close and personal with wind turbines. Safety first! Keep the turbines away from populated areas. Question? How far can a wind turbine paddle fly when being pushed by all that Green Energy WIND? I hope we don’t have to wait and see.

  2. Merle says

    If you want to have a fair conversation you should look at both sides of the issue,
    There is good and bad things in everything we do. All I see on your web page is
    all the bad things that can happen at a wind project. The blade that came off
    in Oklahoma went threw a storm that was the largest the US has every seen
    It took out whole towns, so you can throw that one out the door for a reason not
    to have a wind farm.

    Get a group together and go visit a wind farm and talk to the locals to get the
    good and the bad , don’t just look on line and think that it is all true.
    Cars kill people every day so should we stop driving, ????
    Don’t be one sided look at the whole picture first. PLEASE

    • Paul Crowe says

      Merle, the other side is all everyone has been hearing. When wind developers descend on a town selling the idea of installing industrial wind turbines, they tell a wonderful story as any salesman does. The landowners believe it, the local government officials believe it and they all think they’ve heard the whole story and that all of their questions have been answered. The developers may even tell the folks to not believe what they hear on the Internet.

      The problem for the landowners is the story they were told left out a LOT of information and there are a lot of questions they never even thought of asking. The developers warn against looking on the Internet because they know if you do, you’re going to find out what they didn’t tell you. This site is among the growing number of websites trying to get the rest of the story out so everyone can make a decision based on both sides of the issue, just what you’re encouraging people to do.

      If you think something on this site is inaccurate, tell us specifically what it is. Show us something to support what you’re saying and where we have it wrong. We are happy to have an open conversation and if you can show us we’re wrong, we’ll correct our information. That’s how it works.

      You point out that what you see or read online might not be true and you’re absolutely right, just like every other source of information you rely on may be wrong, whether it’s the TV, radio, newspaper, magazines, books or your next door neighbor, everyone of them needs to be checked out, the Internet is no different. That’s why we try so hard to show you where our information comes from so you can see why we’re saying the things we do. Don’t believe us, check us out!

  3. Brion says

    This story is a lie made up by the anti wind nut jobs. The blade in the picture was a display at ground level (had been there for years) and was pushed into the building in the FE5 tornado. It DID NOT come off a turbine.

    • Paul Crowe says

      Do you have a photo or any other information about the display?

      Just did some digging, there is, or was, a display of a blade in Weatherford, Oklahoma. The daycare center in the photo is in El Reno, Oklahoma. There is at least 30 miles between the two towns, though exactly where the display is and the daycare center is, may make that distance more or less. Still checking.

      The display was on the west side of Weatherford, while Canadian Valley Tech is east of El Reno, making the distance even further, perhaps 40 miles. Unless there is or was, another display in El Reno, which I cannot find any reference to, your statement appears to be false. If it was pushed, it was pushed, or flew, about 40 miles.

      Unless you can show evidence to the contrary, the story above which was reported by local news organizations in Oklahoma, seems to be accurate.

      A news story just out confirms this blade was from a nearby training display and the article above has been updated and corrected.