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DTE halts wind park work as probe begins

CHANDLER TOWNSHIP – Work at DTE’s Echo Wind Park has stopped as the energy company tries to find the reason why a wind turbine blade broke at the park last week.

“There’s not a timetable on this,” DTE spokesman Scott Simons said Monday. “We’re not going to put anyone or anything at risk until we get to the bottom of this.

The 60 turbines that have already been constructed at the planned 70-turbine wind park will not operate until a reason for the recent malfunction at North Farver Road near the intersection of Dunn Road is discovered. DTE had been generating power from each of the turbines after they were completed, according to an Oct. 23 news release.

In addition, Simons said that construction on the remaining 10 turbines will stop. The remaining turbines are in various stages of completion. There is no plan in place for the temporary workers who are staying in Huron County building the turbines.

Construction on the Echo Wind Park was scheduled to be finished by the end of November.

“We’re not going to continue construction until we know what happened,” Simons said. “They’re not going to start back up until we know what went wrong.

Completed wind turbine parks in the area will continue to be operational.

The investigation into the broken turbine blade could take months. In March, a DTE-owned wind turbine in Sigel Township broke and the final analysis on the cause wasn’t presented to Huron County Commissioners until an October meeting.

DTE project manager Dennis Buda said at that meeting that the blade in Sigel Township failed because of a manufacturer’s defect due to uneven heating conditions at a production plant in Brazil.

Simons said that DTE is taking the broken wind turbine blade very seriously.

“We’re working with GE engineers; it’s still a work in progress,” he said.