SEBEWAING TOWNSHIP – A wind turbine at Pheasant Run Wind Project requires replacement of a failed gearbox, while 15 turbines will remain shut down to repair drain tile, according to Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc.
In a June 16 letter sent to the Huron County Building and Zoning office, NextEra said Pheasant Run is “operating as expected and under normal conditions,” and that the company is repairing drain tile broken during construction.
Shutdowns will continue Monday through Friday until the end of July, the letter states.
“These are machines and machines sometimes need repairs,” said Steve Stengel, spokesman for NextEra. “Sometimes gearboxes have issues and need to be repaired. My understanding is that the machines will be done Monday.”
The turbine in need of repair is near the intersection of Canboro and Volz roads. It will require dismantling of the blades and rotor using a crane, said Jeff Smith, Huron County director of building and zoning.
Smith said when wind projects are constructed, heavy equipment can damage underground tile. Smith said most of the farmland in Huron County is tiled.
“It’s a standard aspect of the construction process,” he said. “It’s not unique to wind turbines. Every wind project to date in Huron County has had similar issues with drain tile repair work. No matter how you construct it, that issue would arise regardless of whose project it is. Any construction project on that same land would require that process be done.”
Stengel said nothing unusual occurred during the construction process to prompt the repairs.
Pheasant Run Wind Project was completed in February. The 88-turbine wind farm is the largest in the county and spans areas in Brookfield, Winsor, Sebewaing and Grant townships.
DTE Energy Co. announced in March that it would buy 44 of the turbines in the park in order to meet its clean energy goals.
By 2015, all state utilities must reach a 10 percent renewable energy goal required by Michigan’s Renewable Energy Standard. DTE’s purchased portion of the park has been renamed “Brookfield Wind Farm.”
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