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.
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.