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18,000-pound wind turbine blade breaks in Adair County

Mid-American Energy spent Friday investigating how the blade of a wind turbine broke off and crashed into a farm field in rural Adair County.

Sometime in the past 48 hours, nearby farmers reported that a blade had snapped and landed in a nearby corn field.

The blades measure 177 feet long and 18,000 pounds.

Adair County farmer Curt Beane said the blade crushed the corn below, but nobody was injured.

“I work in the field that it came down, and I do have true safety concern,” Beane said.

Beane said he does not own the land that the blade fell onto, but he does farm it.

He said he is not a fan of wind turbines to begin with, and now he feels even more skeptical about their safety.

“It’s true concerns and (there are) neighbors that are around (who) have similar concerns,” Beane said.

Ronni Scott, who is part of an anti-wind turbine group called the Residents Rights Coalition of Madison County, said she wants wind turbines to be set back farther from roads and other property.

“These things are dangerous,” Scott said. “These things have to be set back far enough away so that if that happens, it’s not going to harm anyone.”

“Out of 3,300 wind turbines, 10,000 blades, it’s a very rare occurrence,” MidAmerican Energy spokesperson Geoff Greenwood said.

Greenwood said MidAmerican crews will work to find a cause of the wing failure.

“I checked on the last two blade failures we had, and they were caused by lightning,” Greenwood said. “I don’t know what the cause was in this situation. We will be working with the manufacturer to try to determine a cause.”

An Adair County farmer told KCCI Friday that they will ask the Iowa Utilities Board to investigate wind turbines to make sure they are safe.