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LES’ lightning-struck turbine gets more repairs  

Credit:  Lincoln Journal Star, journalstar.com 18 October 2010 ~~

On Monday, contractors began work that will complete repairs to one of Lincoln Electric System’s two wind turbines northeast of the city.

The turbine was struck by lightning in May. Initial inspections revealed a split on the outer tip of one blade.

The 2-foot-long split was repaired by LES and Vestas, the turbine’s manufacturer with which LES has a service agreement, at an estimated cost of $45,000. The unit was returned to service June 1.

Then, a Vestas inspection revealed the other two blades also were damaged by the lightning but that it would not prevent the turbine from operating until additional technicians were available to make final repairs. The estimated cost of these repairs is $41,000.

Vestas has brought in four technicians who will focus on the mechanical work of lowering the rotor and blades to the ground and putting them back in place when repairs are completed. The technicians also will replace several bearings. Another two technicians will repair damage to the blades.

Initial work will involve assembling two cranes to lower the blades and rotor an estimated 213 feet to the ground for the repairs and then hoist them back up when repairs are completed. The rotor weighs 15,900 pounds and has a diameter of 154 feet. Each blade is 77 feet long.

They’ll also repair normal erosion damage on the leading edges of all three blades, which occurs when bugs, dirt, etc., hit the blades as they revolve at speeds as high as 157 mph.

Source:  Lincoln Journal Star, journalstar.com 18 October 2010

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