COHOCTON – The Town of Cohocton will have an unexpected item on the agenda tonight when the council meets at 7 p.m. in Atlanta.
A blade partially broke off one of the wind turbines on Pine Hill Road Friday. Though no one witnessed the blade fall to the earth and no one was injured during the incident, the failure has caused concern among residents in the town.
Town Supervisor Judy Hall said there are three turbines in that area of Pine Hill Road, with three homes in the vicinity as well.
The supervisor said the town first learned of the break when Cohocton Police Officer Mark Barnhardt pulled over a pickup truck speeding to Pine Hill Road to address the issue.
“That’s how we knew about it. One would hope they (the company) know about it pretty quickly,” Hall said.
The Cohocton wind energy infrastructure is now owned by TerraForm Power Inc. TerraForm Power issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon following an inquiry by The Spectator.
“On the morning of January 17th, 2020, an incident occurred at our Cohocton wind farm in Steuben County, NY. One of the blades at our WTG5 turbine failed experiencing a direct split and liberation of the upper half of the blade. The liberated part of the blade was found within proximity of the turbine base. No injuries occurred as a result of this incident and the turbine has been shut down. The area around the turbine has been secured and a safety zone established. The company is currently investigating this incident. In the meantime, other turbines at the site are unaffected by this incident and currently operating under normal conditions.”
The narrow half of one of the three blades fell to the earth. Hall said it was her understanding that some debris ended up in a nearby wooded area. She said talks with a former wind company employee indicated the blade was likely spinning at the time of the failure.
Haill said she has heard of similar incidents elsewhere in the country, but this was the first time a blade broke in the Cohocton area. The wind turbines in Cohocton were constructed in 2008 and started spinning in 2009.
“A number of the turbines are not working at all anymore,” Hall said. “They’re offline and they’re looking re-power them, put new nacelles and blades on them. We know there are numerous blades that have problems.”
The town board will discuss the matter further at tonight’s meeting. Other than that, Hall said the agenda is fairly standard as the town deals with some housekeeping matters in the new year and welcomes three new members to the board.
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