WICHITA FALLS – An official with the energy company that operates the Shannon Wind Farm south of Windthorst said it will take several weeks to determine what caused a turbine to collapse more than a week ago.
Paul Rapp, vice president of development with Alterra Power Corp., told the Times Record News during a telephone interview Friday that engineers from the energy production company and the turbine manufacturer have been to the site about 30 miles south of Wichita Falls. He said they’ve collected materials and other information to begin piecing together the events that led up to the structure to give way.
“I think it’s fair to say that we have some good early indications of what happened, but, as you can imagine, there’s quite a bit of forensics and engineering involved in confirming exactly what happened,” he said. “So, that work is ongoing.”
Rapp said when the turbine and tower fell to the ground, operators shut down the 119-turbine Shannon Wind Farm as a precaution. They were eventually able to restart the remaining turbines a couple days after the incident.
The VP said it is extremely rare for turbines to collapse like the one in Archer County did. He said there are thousands of turbines in the U.S. and around the world, and it is not a frequent occurrence for one to topple.
“Like most kind of extreme events, it requires a chain of things to all happen, not just one thing,” he said. “You need a bunch of things to happen in a row for something as extreme as this to happen.
“We are convinced that it’s an extremely rare and isolated incident limited to this turbine and that’s why we’ve got the other ones up and back in operation.”
Rapp said because of the setback requirements of wind farms, the turbine was not around any homes or structures, so the only damage done was to the turbine that collapsed and the ground below.
The felled turbine will eventually be removed from the property, Rapp said, and a new multimillion turbine will be constructed to replace it.
The Shannon Wind Farm and it’s 119 turbines supplies went online in 2015. Power from the 204 megawatt farm is sold to Citi, which turns around and sells the energy to other consumers.
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