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Nitrogen plant, wind turbine are affected by Woodward tornado  

Credit:  By Paul Monies, newsok.com 17 April 2012 ~~

A fatal weekend tornado in Woodward also affected local industry, including the temporary shutdown of a nitrogen plant and damage to at least one wind turbine.

CF Industries Holdings Inc. officials said the storm knocked out power to its nitrogen fertilizer plant, which employs about 120 people. The company was working with Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. Monday to make repairs but didn’t have a firm date on when the plant would resume operations, spokeswoman Susan Fisher said.

“Our employees in Woodward are fully engaged and working diligently to bring the plant back into production,” Fisher said.

Woodward has become a wind-energy hub in recent years, and three wind farms are near the city. At least one wind turbine sustained damage from Sunday’s early morning storm, said Lavern Phillips, Woodward Industrial Foundation president. Debris from the tornado apparently knocked the fiberglass nose cone off a turbine, he said.

Steve Wolfgram, vice president of Competitive Power Ventures Inc., said too much wind can put excess torque on the machinery of wind turbines. CPV developed the OU Spirit Wind Farm, now owned by OG&E, and the Keenan II wind farm.

“These turbines are designed to withstand a good deal of wind,” Wolfgram said. “These particular turbines turn away from the wind and turn off at speeds of 55 miles per hour or greater. They put the brakes on to protect the turbine from excess torque from the wind.”

Wolfgram said OU Spirit and Keenan II wind farms were in the path of Sunday’s tornado. They continued to operate and send power to the electrical grid during the storm, he said.

C.J. Montgomery, Woodward Chamber of Commerce president, said several commercial buildings sustained damage along State Highway 34 and Oklahoma Avenue, including a bank, a carpet store and offices.

Source:  By Paul Monies, newsok.com 17 April 2012

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