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Clean Power An upstate New York wind farm project that was scraped may be getting new life.

Published on March 12th, 2009 | by Dave Tyler

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Officials Looking for Answers After Wind Turbine Collapse

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March 12th, 2009 by  

A wind turbine in Upstate NY collapses last week and investigators are searching for a cause

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.

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About the Author

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.



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  • Pingback: Town Council Scraps Windfarm Project After Turbine Collapse | Eco Friendly Mag

  • russ

    One question Phillip if you would please –

    According to the Dragonfly site – if I read it right – an airplane engine based on this concept should be a perpetual motion machine?

    I did notice a section to attract investors though – they shouldn’t expect my money as it sounds like a pipe dream.

  • russ

    One question Phillip if you would please –

    According to the Dragonfly site – if I read it right – an airplane engine based on this concept should be a perpetual motion machine?

    I did notice a section to attract investors though – they shouldn’t expect my money as it sounds like a pipe dream.

  • to Phillip

    If you do any reading regarding the way wind turbines work you will quickly find out they are rated to withstand speeds above level 5 hurricane status. The generators position themselves parallel to the winds and they stop spinning. Out of the many turbines in operation a few are inevitably going to break.

  • to Phillip

    If you do any reading regarding the way wind turbines work you will quickly find out they are rated to withstand speeds above level 5 hurricane status. The generators position themselves parallel to the winds and they stop spinning. Out of the many turbines in operation a few are inevitably going to break.

  • http://www.dragonfly-windturbine.com Phillip

    All you have to do is go to their web site (manufacturer) and look at their specs. There is a very narrow window of operation. 8 – 50mph! The reason is when you have a 33 Ton propellar attached to a 50 ton Generator, 88 tons at the top of a 400 ft pole its kind hard to call any of the safe! When look again at the specs they can’t survive a Level 1 Hurricane – the reason is at ground level the wind is 95mph but the higher you go 300 to 400 ft the wind speed increases to 166 mph (Level 5)! You, may want to stop and re-question everything! This is a dinosaur of and idea that is 25 years old! So their only solution is lets make them bigger and put them on taller poles then blame it on the wiring when one comes down. No one will know!~

    But if you want to believe it was a “Wiring Problem” that destroyed this Wind Turbine – go right ahead, it worked on TWA flight 800!

    The only regulations that anyone has placed on these dinosaurs is the community they talked into letting them put them up… there are NO, guide lines or regulation on the “Manufacturing” of these machines. Its in the hands of engineers of the company that makes them! But since no one got hurt who cares if a wind turbine collapses! Then again… you’re talking about a 175ft bladed propeller, spinning at 50mph… and cities allow them in their back yards?

    Currently there are 11 TOP issues that are being published by other communities who have STOPPED this process until these questioned are answered.

    1) Fires

    2) Structural Failure

    3) Blade Throw

    4) Ice Throw

    5) Lightning

    6) Health & Safety

    7) Financial

    8) Property Values

    9) Shadow Flicker

    10) Noise

    11) Wildlife

    As of last week you can now add BATS to this issue! As the Bats fly by at night avoiding the blades… the blades create a low pressure wake – it causes the bats lungs to explode!

    How many more have to burn, fall, destroy property or even kill someone before someone says no – there has to be a better way!

    Well, I found one and if everyone would just wait a little longer – a little project called “Dragonfly” is in development and it is nothing short of becoming – “The Next Generation WInd Turbine”! Calls are already coming in from dealerships who see THIS new Wind Turbine as the only possible answer, for everyone!

  • http://www.dragonfly-windturbine.com Phillip

    All you have to do is go to their web site (manufacturer) and look at their specs. There is a very narrow window of operation. 8 – 50mph! The reason is when you have a 33 Ton propellar attached to a 50 ton Generator, 88 tons at the top of a 400 ft pole its kind hard to call any of the safe! When look again at the specs they can’t survive a Level 1 Hurricane – the reason is at ground level the wind is 95mph but the higher you go 300 to 400 ft the wind speed increases to 166 mph (Level 5)! You, may want to stop and re-question everything! This is a dinosaur of and idea that is 25 years old! So their only solution is lets make them bigger and put them on taller poles then blame it on the wiring when one comes down. No one will know!~

    But if you want to believe it was a “Wiring Problem” that destroyed this Wind Turbine – go right ahead, it worked on TWA flight 800!

    The only regulations that anyone has placed on these dinosaurs is the community they talked into letting them put them up… there are NO, guide lines or regulation on the “Manufacturing” of these machines. Its in the hands of engineers of the company that makes them! But since no one got hurt who cares if a wind turbine collapses! Then again… you’re talking about a 175ft bladed propeller, spinning at 50mph… and cities allow them in their back yards?

    Currently there are 11 TOP issues that are being published by other communities who have STOPPED this process until these questioned are answered.

    1) Fires

    2) Structural Failure

    3) Blade Throw

    4) Ice Throw

    5) Lightning

    6) Health & Safety

    7) Financial

    8) Property Values

    9) Shadow Flicker

    10) Noise

    11) Wildlife

    As of last week you can now add BATS to this issue! As the Bats fly by at night avoiding the blades… the blades create a low pressure wake – it causes the bats lungs to explode!

    How many more have to burn, fall, destroy property or even kill someone before someone says no – there has to be a better way!

    Well, I found one and if everyone would just wait a little longer – a little project called “Dragonfly” is in development and it is nothing short of becoming – “The Next Generation WInd Turbine”! Calls are already coming in from dealerships who see THIS new Wind Turbine as the only possible answer, for everyone!

  • nix

    When you put up thousands and thousands of them, some are bound to be put together wrong or have material defects, just a fact of life.

    The amount and consistency of that happening is what really matters. I’ve only ever heard the odd story of things like this happening, but I wonder how many actually have problems.

    Speaking of which, does anyone know how many or what the quality of the regulations is as far as building/manufacturing/designing these things?

    That’s what I’m really curious about.

  • nix

    When you put up thousands and thousands of them, some are bound to be put together wrong or have material defects, just a fact of life.

    The amount and consistency of that happening is what really matters. I’ve only ever heard the odd story of things like this happening, but I wonder how many actually have problems.

    Speaking of which, does anyone know how many or what the quality of the regulations is as far as building/manufacturing/designing these things?

    That’s what I’m really curious about.

  • Mdan

    Wiring anomalies, riiiight. More likely, the CIA/oil-industry-sponsored Earth First.

  • Mdan

    Wiring anomalies, riiiight. More likely, the CIA/oil-industry-sponsored Earth First.

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