BAD AXE – Experts have started their investigation into what caused a wind turbine to catch fire in in one of Huron County’s townships this week.
On April 1, Turbine No. 17 at Harvest Wind II caught fire. The wind turbine is located in self-zoned Chandler Township and owned by Exelon Generation.
“The site was secured and monitored while the fire was allowed to burn itself out, which occurred at about 11 p.m. that night,” John Orr, a representative with Exelon, told the Huron County Planning Commission during Wednesday evening’s meeting.
Orr said there were a few small grass fires, but no significant ground fires, and no injuries were reported.
“The other turbines in the project were immediately taken out of service during the event and after a safety review, we restarted them Tuesday night around 7:22 p.m.,” he explained. “Turbine No. 17 has been isolated and the overall facility has been producing approximately 50 megawatts since (Tuesday night).”
“Exelon is grateful for the prompt and professional response of the first responders in the area,” he added. “Exelon’s priority is always the safety of the community and our employees.”
The investigation has started, Orr said, and Exelon plans to keep all county and state officials informed of the results.
“Once complete, we’ll decide on the best course of action with regard to the future of the damaged turbine – whether it’s repaired, replaced, demolished, etc., ” he said.
“Was there any loss of oil? And, what is the potential contamination at the ground level?” asked Planning Chairman Robert McLean.
“I don’t think we’re complete with that part of the investigation yet because the turbine is still isolated,” Orr replied. “We’re doing safety checks before we go out to the site and get close to it.”
In other news, prior to Orr’s presentation, planners reelected McLean to serve as chairman. Ken Walker was elected vice chairman and Julie Epperson was reelected as secretary.
Incumbent Bernie Cregeur and newly-appointed planner Jeremy Polega both took the oath of office. Newcomer William Renn, who was also appointed by the Huron County Board of Commissioners, was absent from Wednesday’s meeting. He will take his seat in May.
Also Wednesday, planners:
• Approved special use permit for D&W Salvage to construct a 50-foot-by-61-foot building and an 11-foot-by-80-foot truck scale on 40 acres of agricultural zoned parcels in Lincoln Township.
• Completed a site plan review for Farm Crest Food to construct a 62-foot-by-471-foot cage-free poultry layer house on 195 acres of agricultural zoned parcels at 6761 Haist Road in Pigeon.
• Scheduled a special workshop meeting for 7 p.m. April 17 to continue working on the county’s Commercial Solar Energy Facilities Ordinance. The meeting will take place in Room 305 inside the Huron County Building.
The next regularly scheduled meeting is set for 7 p.m. May 1.