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DTE to replace 33 turbine blades

UPPER THUMB – DTE Energy and General Electric will replace 33 blades at the troubled Echo Wind Park.

“To date 33 blades have been slated for replacement,” DTE Energy’s Ron Chriss said Tuesday at the Huron County Commissioners meeting. He then sighed and repeated “33 blades.”

The board asked if the blades have to be replaced in other areas around the country or just Huron County. The replacement of the blades comes after a blade broke into three pieces in November in Chandler Township.

“This is an issue that is greater and bigger than just what is happening here in Huron County,” Chriss said.

All of the blades that need repair are located within the Echo Wind Park according to DTE. The company also operates other wind parks in Huron County. Echo Park Wind is DTE’s newest and largest wind farm in the county.

“Of the 70 turbines at the Echo Wind Park, GE has released 39 turbines,” Chriss said.

Chriss said that DTE has looked at the data that GE has provided and continued to have issues with a few points. The electric company said it plans to get more information and data from GE.

DTE Energy also will have independent consultants look into the blades before they start producing power. DTE media spokesman Scott Simons said he didn’t have an estimate for the cost of the repairs. Since the blades were still under warranty, GE will have to pay for the replacement. A GE spokesman told the Tribune it plans to release the information at a later date.

“I don’t want to even ask how much the expenses will be for that,” Huron County Commission Chairman Clark Elftman said during the meeting. “But it’s better safe than sorry.”

Commissioners acknowledged many people will be surprised to see more turbine blades on the roads.

DTE Energy said the reboot will be tentatively finished later this month.

“I’m glad you brought us up to date on this,” Elftman said. “A lot of people will be wondering what’s going on.”