A relatively small wind turbine, located at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center on Presque Isle in Erie, PA is being demolished. The wind turbine has been inoperative for quite some time, the blades and the turbine itself had fallen off due to high winds and rather than spend the money to get it repaired and operational, the decision was made to tear it down.
An interesting note from when it was still working was that the turbine would accumulate ice during the winter and as it began to turn, ice would be thrown from the blades.
Presque Isle State Park manager, Harry Leslie said:
… during the winter months, the turbine became a safety concern.
The blades threw ice at cars and the TREC’s roof was even damaged.
During the local debate over setback requirements in the wind ordinance for North East, we repeatedly brought up the issue of ice throw, yet our concerns were dismissed and minimized. Yet this turbine was notable for the ice throw and damage it caused even though it is about one quarter of the height of the 500 foot turbines planned for the township .
A person concerned with safety would take the issue very seriously, but our government officials, assured by the wind developer that ice would not be a problem and calling the scientific study we presented as being an extreme case, chose to write an ordinance with minimal setbacks.
With the current hold on the project because of the expiration of tax incentives, this might be an ideal time to revisit the issue of setbacks in the wind ordinance, especially with the evidence of ice throw in the local region from a much smaller turbine.