ALTONA – Monday, officials from Noble Environmental Power were still trying to determine the cause of a wind-turbine fire that broke out Saturday evening at the Altona Wind Park.
John Bahouth, vice president of human resources and communications, said the company was working to mobilize heavy equipment to the area in order to reach the top of the extremely tall turbine.
“We are pursuing the cause with all diligence, and as soon as the company knows more details, we will be issuing another press release with the findings,” Bahouth said.
He said there was no way to say exactly when the company would know what caused the blaze.
The damage was confined to the turbine and posed no risks to nearby residents or businesses.
PAST TOWER COLLAPSE
This was the second major incident involving wind turbines in the Altona Park.
A power outage on March 6, 2009, triggered a fire when Turbine 42 did not move into safe mode. The rotor and blades whipped up to three times the speed for which the system was designed, according to a report from the Public Service Commission, and the tower collapsed.
Oil in the nacelle of the turbine caught fire, and the unit was heavily damaged.
Turbine 59 was also damaged when it, too, didn’t kick into safe mode.
NOT NOBLE’S FAULT
In a report issued in October 2010, the Public Service Commission found no fault with Noble, concluding the facilities had “been inspected and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.”
The commission also said Noble was in compliance with procedures for inspection, maintenance, public safety and site security.
“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 at that time.
As well, the Service Commission said the turbine manufacturer had put in place product and process improvements “to preclude a repetition of the circumstances that led to the incident.”
— News Editor Suzanne Moore contributed to this report
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding