A manufacturing anomaly has been blamed for last month’s blade failure at the Orangeville Wind Farm.
An analysis has determined the break was caused by a spar cap issue, General Electric representatives said Monday in a news release.
A spar cap is located on both sides of the blade. It essentially gives the blade strength, and is made from composite materials.
“GE has identified a discrete set of blades that could have been subject to this anomaly and we are working with potentially affected customers to help ensure the reliability of our wind turbines and their safe operation,” the officials said in the release.
“To date, a small percentage of the potentially affected blades that we have reviewed are impacted. Blades that are not impacted are safe to operate.”
About 1.5 percent of GE’s total blade population is potentially affected, the officials said. An exact number was not available.
In the meantime, Invenergy is resuming its commissioning and operations at the wind farm.
“The investigation of turbine blades at the Orangeville Wind Farm involves a thorough inspection of each individual blade,” Invenergy officials said in a separate news release. “This process is ongoing, as GE personnel makes its way through the Orangeville fleet, turbine-by-turbine.”
The company has been consulting extensively with GE, officials said.
“We have confidence in the safe operation of these turbines,” the officials said. “Moving forward, we will continue to resume activity incrementally as each unit is cleared as safe to operate.”
Invenergy declined to comment further.
The turbine blade broke about 7 a.m. on Nov. 17. It was located in the wind farm’s 34th tower, near Centerline Road and Route 20A.
The blade fell to the ground near the base of the turbine, officials said. No injuries were reported. The blade has not been repaired, and the turbine remains inactive.
The Orangeville Wind Farm has 58 turbines. Construction was completed around late October, and the commissioning process began about the same time.
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