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Wind turbine

With farmers itching to get in the fields for spring planting, there still has been no determination as to the cause of a 150′ blade falling from a newly constructed wind turbine at the Eclipse Wind Farm in southwest Guthrie and southeast Audubon counties April 4 near the Laverne Kommes farm, approximately five miles northwest of Adair.

Although the wind farm is owned by MidAmerican Energy, the turbines, which are still under warranty, were originally engineered and manufactured by Siemens Energy.

A joint statement from Siemens Energy media manager Melanie Forbrick and MidAmerican Energy media relations manager Tina Potthoff regarding the blade investigation was received by the Times Monday. A partial reprint follows:

“Siemens has developed detailed inspection and analysis protocols that are being implemented to physically assess the condition of all wind turbine blades of the same type installed at projects owned by MidAmerican Energy… Siemens engineers from the U.S. and other locations around the world are uploading and reviewing the data obtained during this inspection process to evaluate the safety of the turbine blades and determine the root cause of the blade incident. As of today – April 22, 2013 – a final root cause analysis has not been released. However, after review of the information… specific to each particular wind turbine at the Eclipse project, only those wind turbines that pass the rigorous inspection process have been or will be returned to service.”

After the statement was received, MidAmerican was queried as to whether any blades had failed the inspection.

Pottoff reported that “in an abundance of caution,” some turbine blades were identified for repair or replacement during the inspection process.

She also noted that as of Tuesday afternoon, 14 turbines were not operational, although some of those were still awaiting their initial inspections.