- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Firefighters race to second turbine blaze in months at US wind farm

A burned-out turbine at Locust Ridge Photo: West End Fire & Rescue, Mahanoy City, PA via Facebook

An investigation is underway after firefighters were called to a second turbine fire within a few months at a wind farm in the US state of Pennsylvania, the latest in a string of blazes reported at the project.

The fire on Saturday 13 March destroyed the nacelle of a turbine at the Locust Ridge project north of Mahanoy City.

The West End Fire & Rescue service, which said nobody was hurt, posted a video of the incident of crews supervising the fire as it burnt itself out.

Locust Ridge is a 128MW two-stage wind farm operated by Avangrid Renewables, itself a subsidiary of global renewable energy giant Iberdrola.

Locust Ridge 1 entered service in 2007 using 13 Gamesa G87 2MW turbines, with Locust Ridge 2 online from 2009 with 51 Gamesa G83 2MW machines.

Local media noted that the blaze followed a turbine fire at the project as recently as 28 December, reporting that firefighters have been called to five incidents at Locust Ridge during its period of operation.

Recharge has found media reports relating to turbine fires in December 2020 and May 2018.

Assistant fire chief Joe Gavala told Recharge the service’s main concern was the possibility of a brush fire from falling embers.

“Our biggest problem is that the fire doesn’t spread and no one gets hurt.

“We really don’t put them out, they burn themselves out.. we make sure there are no spectators underneath them and a forest fire doesn’t start,” said Gavala.

A fire suppression specialist in an article for Recharge last year claimed the rapid growth of the sector and the hotter, drier conditions in some parts of the US – leading to increased risks of wildfires – make it important for the industry to address the issue of turbine blazes head-on.

Investigation launched

Avangrid said in a statement sent to Recharge that it is still investigating the cause of the blaze.

The company said: “Local first responders arrived promptly to monitor the situation. Thanks to the work of our employees on site and at our National Control Centre, we were quickly able to confirm that no employees or members of the general public were in the vicinity of the affected turbine at the time of the incident and to secure the site in order to ensure public safety.

“The fire self-extinguished without intervention and damage was limited to a single turbine, and we are grateful for the prompt response of local emergency personnel from Schuylkill County and Mahanoy City.”