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Turbine hit by lightning will soon be repaired

MINDEN TOWNSHIP – A wind turbine that was struck by lightning and made inoperable in late September at the Michigan Wind 2 project is expected to be operational again next week.

“This is a rare occurrence,” said Bob Judge, communications manager for Exelon Power. “The turbine is currently under repair.”

Judge said that Exelon power operates the project, and there never was a safety concern for of workers or residents of Minden Township.

“No blades fell to my knowledge, there was only damage to the blade itself,” Judge said. “The turbine automatically shut down when it got struck by the lightning.”

The Michigan Wind 2 project has 50 turbines near Minden City.

Judge said that the turbine had lightening rods, but was not equipped with a new lightening deflector. In the future, there are plans for all wind turbines operated by Exelon to come equipped with the new device.

“We are taking precautions for lightning. But as I said, it is a rare occurrence,” Judge said.

In Huron County, Exelon operates Michigan Wind 1 in Ubly and Harvest Wind Park 1 and 2 near the villages of Pigeon and Elkton, according to Director of Planning, Zoning and Building Jeff Smith. If a blade is struck, the companies are responsible to make repairs to the blades. There is no requirement for wind turbines to have lightening deflectors on wind turbines in Huron County, he added.

Smith said companies such as Exelon and DTE Energy have an operation and maintenance team at the sites that deal with any issues.

“None of the turbines in our area have lightening deflectors,” Smith said. “They repair the blade sections of the turbines if they are struck by lightening.”

Judge and Smith both said they did not know the cost to repair the turbine.