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Turbine blade failure a worry

A recent wind turbine blade failure in Adair County, Iowa, raises questions on the safety of wind turbines and wind farms. Farmers discovered a large section of a 177-foot-long and 18,000-pound blade in a corn field that had separated from a wind turbine in a 48-period before Sept. 18 when KCCI-TV reported it.

No one seemed to know exactly when the blade separated and flew into the cornfield. Farmers are concerned about the safety of the wind turbines as this was the third blade failure for MidAmercian Energy. The previous two failures were attributed to lightning.

Even though blade failure may be rare, these questions on wind turbine safety need to be asked of Lincoln Land Wind/Apex project:

1. Are the setbacks for each wind turbine sufficient should there be a catastrophic failure such that occurred in Adair County, Iowa?

2. Given that there were two failures due to lightning, what protections are the wind turbines going to have against lighting damage?

3. Why did lightning damage a wind turbine blade?

4. Should a turbine blade fail and separate from the wind turbine, will Lincoln Land Wind/Apex compensate the landowner/tenant farmer for loss of crops, damage to land, any farm equipment, buildings, county road damage and loss of life?

5. What financial protections or guarantees does Lincoln Land Wind/Apex carry to cover this type of damage compensation?

5. If each wind turbine is to be remotely monitored, why was the blade failure not identified as a blade separation [since it] would have caused the wind turbine to become unbalanced immediately?

Betty Niemann