A GE turbine has collapsed at a wind farm in Nebraska, marking the third such incident involving its turbines in the US this year – although Recharge understands investigations of the two earlier failures suggests no common factor behind the spate of dramatic topplings.
The latest turbine came down on 5 July at Invenergy’s 200MW Upstream Wind Energy Center, which only began operations at the beginning of 2019.
Nobody was injured by the collapse of the GE 2.5-116 turbine at the wind farm in Antelope County, near the city of Norfolk.
A spokesperson for GE Renewable Energy told Recharge: “GE was notified on 5 July of a 2.5-116 turbine collapse at the Upstream wind farm in Nebraska. GE immediately deployed a team to the site, and is working closely with the wind farm operator to determine the root cause of this incident.
“We stand by the quality and reliability of our turbines, and we are taking immediate action with our customer to resolve this issue. GE Renewable Energy’s best-selling 2MW product platform will have a total installed capacity of more than 15GW by the end of 2019 and operates at an industry-leading average of 98-plus percent availability.”
Invenergy said in a statement sent to Recharge: “Invenergy is investigating the incident at Upstream Wind Energy Center. One turbine, a GE 2.5-116, was impacted and the wind farm remains fully operational and is generating electricity.”
The Nebraska incident is the third collapse of a GE machine in the US this year. In February a GE 2.5-127 turbine came down at the Casa Mesa Wind Energy Center in eastern New Mexico, which entered commercial operation in the fourth quarter of last year.
Then in May, a GE 2.4-107 turbine crumpled to the ground at the Chisholm View 2 wind farm in Oklahoma, prompting the launch of an investigation at the project, which entered service in 2016.
As it launches the third collapse inquiry, GE Renewable Energy has identified and addressed the root causes of the two turbine failures earlier this year, Recharge understands from sources close to the investigations.
The May incident is understood to be down to an issue experienced during a turbine reboot, which is being addressed with a software update.
The earlier collapse at the Casa Mesa Wind Energy Center, operated by NextEra, is being attributed to a fuse-related blade issue while the turbine was running in overspeed mode during high winds, causing rotor imbalance and tower collapse.
Nobody was hurt in the February or May collapses. The two incidents – now followed by the third in Nebraska – led to questions over a potential common root cause. But Recharge understands the two earlier failures are being differentiated and, while the latest investigation is still in its very early stages, it is not immediately being linked to the other two.
Recharge reported after the second incident in May how academics at Birmingham University in the UK said the wind industry needs to develop a better understanding of the complex interplay of factors that can lead to turbine collapse.