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Firm to replace broken turbine blade after probe complete  

Credit:  Will Brumleve | Paxton Record | www.paxtonrecord.net 27 June 2012 ~~

SHELDON – It might be a few more weeks before E.On Climate & Renewables North America knows exactly how a wind turbine near Sheldon was damaged recently.

Matt Tulis, communications manager for the Chicago-based wind farm developer, said Monday that his firm has contacted GE, the manufacturer of the turbine, which is among 97 in E.On’s 150-megawatt Settlers Trail Wind Farm.

But as of Monday, GE officials had not been able to remove the turbine’s broken blade and analyze the damage.

“The GE engineering team is still doing their investigation,” Tulis said, adding that “they’ll need to bring that blade down that was damaged” before the investigation can be completed.

“They’re hoping to do that in the next couple of weeks – to get a crane out here, have a replacement (blade shipped), and then get the damaged blade down,” Tulis said, “and then it’s probably going to take them a couple of weeks after that until they finish their analysis. Until they get the blade down, it’s hard for them to say what exactly happened.”

E.On officials last week described the damage to the turbine – one of nearly 100 that are part of the firm’s 150-megwatt Settlers Trail Wind Farm – as a “rare event for us.”

“It doesn’t happen very often,” said Tulis said.

The 1.6-megawatt turbine is 5 to 6 miles east of Watseka on Iroquois County Road 2700 East, just off of U.S. 24. One blade was bent back and debris was lying around the base of the turbine. Part of the blade was lying in a field away from the base.

Carl Gerdovich, director of the Iroquois County Emergency Services & Disaster Agency, said a lightning storm came through the northern end of the county Saturday night and Sunday morning, but he said he was not aware of any damage caused by the storm.

“I never heard of any trees down or lines down, so I can’t imagine that would do it to one windmill and do no other damage, but I suppose it’s possible,” Gerdovich said last week.

Tulis said last week that E.On would be contacting GE to “figure out what happened and to figure out a way to keep it from happening again.”

The damaged turbine has been taken out of operation, Tulis said. No other turbines were found damaged.

Tulis also said there has been no property damage reported in the area of the damaged turbine other than the turbine itself. Nobody was injured, he added.

The Settlers Trail Wind Farm was built last spring and is the second operational wind farm in Illinois for E.On. The firm also completed its Pioneer Trail Wind Farm near Paxton last fall.

Source:  Will Brumleve | Paxton Record | www.paxtonrecord.net 27 June 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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