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Huge wind turbine blade falls in CA; effects felt worldwide

Hundreds of wind farms around the world have slowed operations after huge turbine blades fell in Southern California and Iowa.

U-T San Diego reports that a 170-foot blade fell last week at a wind farm in Ocotillo, 70 miles east of San Diego.

The U-T’s report said turbine-maker Siemens confirmed Monday that its sent a team of experts to the wind farm in San Diego county to determine what happened and whether it’s related to an April incident in central Iowa when the same type of blade snapped off.

Siemens also said it’s curtailing operations for turbines with the B53 blade type around the world.

The estimated 700 turbines – 600 of them in the U.S. – will mostly continue operating but at slower speeds. However, the Ocotillo unit is completely shut down.

U-T San Diego reports that on April 5, a blade broke on the same model turbine at MidAmerican Energy’s Eclipse wind farm in Iowa’s central Audubon and Guthrie counties.

The paper said the turbine blades at Ocotillo are made of a glass fiber-reinforced epoxy resin and are attached to a rotor suspended about 240 feet from the ground.

10News in San Diego reported last week that some residents expressed concern after the blade from the Ocotillo wind turbine broke off and fell to the ground.