A blade partially broke off one of the wind turbines at a Steuben County wind farm last week, causing concern among residents in town.
The blade broke on one of the wind turbines on Pine Hill Road in the Town of Cohocton. No one witnessed the blade fall and no one was injured.
Town Supervisor Judy Hall said there are three turbines in that area of Pine Hill Road, with three homes in the vicinity as well.
Hall 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,” Hall said. “One would hope they (the company) know about it pretty quickly.”
This map shows the location of the turbines in the area. A close look shows the turbines and the shadows:
The Cohocton wind energy infrastructure is owned by TerraForm Power Inc., which issued the following statement:
“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 ground. Hall said some debris fell 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.
Hall 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 (to) re-power them, put new nacelles and blades on them. We know there are numerous blades that have problems.”
The incident happened as other wind power projects are in the planning stages in the Southern Tier of New York.
Four wind projects have been approved by New York’s Electric Generation Siting Board in the past five months. Four more upstate wind farms are now proceeding through the review process.
A planned 124-megawatt wind farm in the towns of Sanford and Windsor have caused an uproar and has led to legal challenges from opponents.
Broome County Concerned Residents, a Town of Sanford group opposed to the installation, filed a 31-page submission to the Public Service Commission requesting a rehearing on the project. The group was joined in their request in separate filings by the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society and Heather DeHaan, who was recognized as an interested party in the proceeding.
Based on project design, 23 towers are to be spread across the Town of Sanford, many visible from Route 17, and another four in the Town of Windsor. Some of the largest turbines could measure 670 feet in height from base to top of the blade tip.
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