Fenner, NY – Nearly three years after the unexpected collapse of a 187-ton windmill on Buyea Road in the town of Fenner, a newer turbine is under construction at the same site.
Turbine 18 crashed down in the middle of a cornfield just before dawn Dec. 27, 2009, shocking both neighbors who have lived among the wind farm’s 20 towers for nearly a decade and industry experts who called the failure unprecedented.
Last month, work crews began preparing the site for a new turbine, which local officials say will be one-third larger than its predecessor. The existing towers measure 212 feet from the ground to the center hub, and 329 feet from the ground to the tip of a blade at its full height.
The tower and rotors are expected to go up in the coming weeks, and the windmill could be online by early November, town officials said this week.
Supervisor Russell Cary said he was looking forward to seeing the newer model in action.
Though the exact height was not immediately known, it will be the highest to date in Madison County. Other similar sized ones are proposed in the town of Madison.
“Today’s windmills are even more efficient than they were years ago,” he said. “It’s a new generation. I’m thrilled.”
The new construction has revived old questions about the accident. Wind farm owner Enel North America never released a final report on the collapse to the public.
Several months after the event, Enel announced forensic engineers had ruled out shoddy construction and deficiencies in the construction materials. Still, the remaining windmills were shut down while work crews reinforced each foundation with four to six tons of steel and 10 truckloads of concrete.
“We had to assume the worst – that the other turbines were seconds away from having the same problem,” site manager Steve Pike said at a town board meeting in May 2010. “We stopped generating at great expense because public safety and understanding why the turbine failed was the most important thing.”
The 19 turbines have operated without incident since coming back online in late 2010.
Madison County Planning Director Scott Ingmire said the new turbine will be similar to those proposed by developers in the town of Madison. – a project that has drawn ire from neighbors and resulted in a one-year wind development moratorium to allow the town to address land-use regulations.
By Alaina Potrikus, The Post-Standard |
October 11, 2012 |