Major parts of a wind turbine at the 21-megawatt Auwahi Wind project at the Ulupalakua Ranch on Maui separated from the tower structure and fell to the ground, shutting down the entire project, a spokeswoman for the owner of the wind farm confirmed to Pacific Business News.
No one was injured after the nacelle – the housing of the generating components – along with the hub and blades of one of its eight wind turbines fell on Sunday.
“At this point, we are not aware of any property damage beyond the damage that occurred to the turbine,” Jill Howard, a spokeswoman for San Diego-based Sempra U.S. Gas & Power LLC, told PBN. “We’re still investigating the situation and gathering the facts. This includes working closely with Siemens, the turbine manufacturer, to determine the root cause of the incident.”
As a precaution, the company said the remaining turbines at Auwahi Wind have been shut down and access to the site has been limited.
“The plant will remain offline until we know more about what caused the incident,” Howard said. “At this very early stage of the investigation, safety is our top concern – and it is too soon to know how long it will take. This will be a very comprehensive investigation.”
The Auwahi Wind project began generating electricity on the Valley Isle in late 2012. The eight wind turbines along the slopes of Haleakala, which generate enough electricity to power up to 10,000 homes, fit in with Hawaii’s clean-energy goals, as well as maintain the lifestyle for the Ulupalakua Ranch.
The power generated by the wind farm is being sold to Maui Electric Co., a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Co., under a 20-year power-purchase agreement.
Hawaiian Electric referred questions to Sempra.
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