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Turbine collapse probe completed

The state Public Service Commission decided Thursday that Noble Environmental Power LLC has strong maintenance and inspection policies at Altona Wind Farm, closing its investigation into a turbine collapse.

The commission investigated the wind farm after one turbine collapsed and another was damaged March 6, 2009, at the project in Clinton County. Noble, the largest wind developer in the state, operates several projects with 612 megawatts of installed capacity and 216 in development.

Noble now has stronger site control documentation and record-keeping on each individual turbine, a PSC spokesman said.

PSC staff concluded in May that the collapse of the turbine and failure of a second at the 65-turbine Altona project were a result of incorrect wire installation. That prevented the turbines from going into an automatic shutdown mode when they lost power.

But Thursday, after independent reviews of Noble’s records, management protocols, operations and maintenance procedures and site conditions, the commission decided Noble was in compliance with appropriate specifications and procedures.

“The Commission is encouraged by the steps that Noble has taken to implement robust site control and internal reporting and scheduling procedures subsequent to the Altona turbine failure investigation,” Chairman Garry Brown said in a news release.

Noble has responded to a commission order to show cause, stating its affiliates were complying with all quality assurance and quality control measures and manufacturer’s recommendations.

Meanwhile, in response to the turbine failure incident, General Electric Co., which manufactures the involved turbines, has implemented remote testing procedures to preclude a repetition of the circumstances that led to the incident.

The full decision will be available soon on the commission’s website.

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Public Service Commission: www.dps.state.ny.us