OCOTILLO – The wind blew strong across town, through homes, desert and at least one newly installed wind turbine that was leaking hydraulic lubricant. The Siemens 2.37 MW turbine wasn’t losing much oil, but the wind still ended up spreading the high-viscosity fluid over approximately 400 yards of desert.
It was March 19, 2013, and Ocotillo Wind Express, a Pattern Energy $600 million wind turbine project, had been partially operating for about four months as it reached full build-out. The oil leak that Tuesday wasn’t a first for the federally subsidized project, according to a redacted Department of Toxic Substances Control report obtained this month by the Imperial Valley Press. It wasn’t the last leak either.
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