New York State’s Public Service Commission investigators are trying to figure out why a wind turbine collapsed last week in upstate Clinton County.
The Albany Times Union reports that Noble Environmental Power, which owns the 65-turbine Altona Wind Park, and turbine maker General Electric Co. found “wiring anomalies” prevented two turbines from shutting down as they are supposed to during a power outage. One tower collapsed in a fiery heap, starting a small fire on the ground. The other was damaged but remained standing. Debris was scattered as far as a quarter-mile away, the paper reported. WPTZ has video with images of the collapsed turbine.
There were no reported injuries. The incident is believed to be the first collapse of a turbine in New York. The PSC would like G.E. and Noble to share information from their investigation with the agency.
The 97.5 megawatt wind park provides enough energy to power to about 32,500 homes. In a statement, Noble said it is restarting the park gradually it and G.E. determine there are no more anomalies in the turbines. Noble said its own investigation could take months to complete. It did not give a time table for restoring the turbines to service, or provide a reason for the power outage at the site.
Noble just announced in January that work on the Altona park was complete and that the facility was operating, along with two others the company owns. Economic conditions had forced Noble to put some development plans on hold and lay off workers last year.
Turbine damage is relatively rare, but it does happen. Earlier this year, U.K. officials dealt with speculation that a UFO caused damage to a turbine there. Investigators settled on a more earthly cause after examining the situation.
Photo Credit: David Laribee’s Flickr stream, via a Creative Commons License.
Dave has over a decade of experience in journalism covering a wide variety of topics. He spent 7 years on the business beat for the Rochester (N.Y) Democrat and Chronicle, covering technology issues including the state's growing green economy. When he's not writing, you'll find Dave enjoying his family, being a bit of a music snob, and praying that the Notre Dame football team can get its act together. He lives in Rochester.