The number of cases involving collapsing turbines and flying blades (aka “component liberation”) has become so common that, if we were a tad cynical, we would go so far to suggest the possibility of some kind of pattern, along the lines proffered by Mr Bond’s nemesis, Goldfinger: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times it’s enemy action”.
Turbines keep crashing back to earth in frightening numbers – from Brazil – to Kansas – Pennsylvania – Germany and Scotland – Devon and everywhere in between: Ireland has been ‘luckier’ than most (see our posts here and here) and their luck is being enjoyed in Sweden too (see our post here).
A month or so back, Swedes had the pleasure of waking up to the sound of a vertically-challenged 290 tonne, whirling Danish Dervish splattering itself across a country road, fortunately free of Volvos at the time:
Adding to the list of unscheduled component ‘liberation’ events is this tale from Madison County, New York.
113-foot blade falls off windmill that previously toppled in Madison County
11 February 2016
FENNER, NY – A 113-foot blade fell off a wind turbine at the Fenner wind farm off Bellinger Road in the town of Fenner in Madison County, according to Fenner town officials.
The blade appears to have fallen off at about 9:30 a.m. today, and town officials think it may have been caused by a bolt failure, said Paula Douglas, Fenner town clerk.
Town officials didn’t think the wind had anything to do with the incident.
Fenner town officials said it’s the same 187-ton windmill – No. 18 of 20 – that collapsed in December 2009. It was replaced with a new wind turbine, Douglas said.
Enel Green Power-North America officials said they are working with the turbine supplier to investigate what happened, but said it’s too early to determine the cause. EGP-NA also said there is no threat to the community, and asked that residents keep a safe distance away from the site to allow workers to conduct their assessments.
The 200-foot-plus structure is one of 20 windmills that generate electricity at the Fenner Wind Farm operated by EGP-NA.
The windmills were erected in 2001 atop a hill at a cost of $34 million. At the time, it was the largest wind-energy facility in the Eastern United States, but that’s no longer the case.
The wind farm, a landmark and tourist attraction to some, provide enough electricity for 10,000 homes.
The usual infantile ‘analysis’ from Elizabeth Doran there – with bunkum about “20 windmills powering 10,000 homes”. Unless those households are prepared to sit freezing or boiling in the dark around 70% of the time, they will, in fact, be ‘powered’ by conventional sources such as coal, gas, hydro and nuclear.
That journalists are still pushing that kind of wind industry propaganda in 2016 is not just dumb, it’s lazy. A quick glance at performance sites like, Aneroid Energy makes a nonsense of the “this wind farm powers XX homes” furphy.
And the line about these being a ‘landmark’ and providing a ‘tourist attraction’ had us giggling too; given that fact that the turbines in question seem to let loose with the regularity of Yellowstone’s Old Faithful: this is not the first time blades have busted loose or turbines have tumbled at Fenner. No, Fenner’s local wonders regularly turn-on ‘action/adventure’ shows that, no doubt, thrill visitors.
Turbine blade falls at 30-MW wind farm in New York
12 February 2016
One of the blades of a Goldwind (HKG:2208) turbine at the 30-MW Fenner wind farm in Madison County, New York, fell off on Thursday, the Post-Standard of Syracuse reported.
Fenner town officials told the newspaper it was unlikely that the incident was caused by the wind, but rather by a bolt failure.
The North American unit of Italy’s Enel Green Power SpA (BIT:EGPW) is the operator of the wind park, which has been generating power since 2001. According to the officials, the turbine is in the same location as one that had to be replaced after crashing down in December 2009.
Representatives of Enel Green Power North America told the newspaper that they are investigating the incident in collaboration with the turbine supplier. The Fenner wind farm consists of 19 pieces of 1.5-MW turbines made by General Electric (GE) and one 1.5-MW Goldwind machine.