SIGEL TOWNSHIP – A 160-foot, 7-ton blade on one of DTE Energy’s wind turbines has been damaged near Section Line and Finkel roads.
Crews are on site to investigate what happened, said Jennifer Wilt, lead communications specialist at DTE.
Wilt says DTE noticed a turbine fault while monitoring from its Cass City location at about 3:15 p.m. They got a call from a landowner at about the same time, she said.
Wilt said the turbine automatically shut down after the incident.
Crews have closed the access road leading to the turbine. There are no other road closures, Wilt said.
Southwest winds will gust 45 to 50 mph this evening, with some gusts nearing 55 mph between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., according to a special weather statement from the National Weather Service.
Dennis Buda, operations manager at DTE Energy, said turbines are programmed to automatically shut down and enter an idle state if winds blow 42 mph or more for a period of 15 minutes. Blades start turning again after wind speeds measure below 42 mph for that same period.
Blades breaking aren’t an anomaly in Huron County.
In March 2013, a turbine blade, also in Sigel Township, broke because of a manufacturing defect, according to General Electric. In September 2013, a turbine near Minden City owned by Exelon Energy lost a blade after a lightning strike.
Buda, who once called Huron County a “mecca for lightning,” said in August 2014 the utility had almost 17 blades that had been struck by lighting. Strikes continued in 2014, causing land and crop damage and forcing wind park owners to replace blades.
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