HELENA, Okla. – Two wind turbines along County Road 650 south of Helena were damaged earlier this month, though the cause of the damage still is under investigation.
Bryan Garner, director of communications at NextEra Energy Resources, said in an email the turbines at the Skeleton Creek Energy Center were damaged on Aug. 11 and 12.
Garner said turbine malfunction is “extremely rare.”
“We believe this was an isolated mechanical incident, and the cause of the damage is still under investigation,” Garner said in the email. “We’ll be working with the manufacturer to identify replacement parts and the cause.”
Nobody was injured, and the landowners where the turbines are located have been notified.
The incident with the two turbines doesn’t impact the operations of the larger wind farm. Garner said he did not have an estimate on the time it would take to repair the turbines.
Various factors affect how often wind turbines require maintenance, but generally, they require preventative maintenance check-ups one to two times per year.
NextEra monitors its wind turbines 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so the company could instantly see when the turbines went offline, Garner said.
The first phase of the Skeleton Creek Project, which is located in Alfalfa, Major and Garfield counties and has been planned since 2015, became operational as Skeleton Creek Wind began generating electricity on Dec. 16, 2020, and will generate 250 megawatts of wind energy for Western Farmers Electric Cooperative.
Skeleton Creek Solar and Storage will feature photovoltaic solar arrays capable of generating up to 250 megawatts of solar energy and a 200 megawatt, four-hour battery energy storage system, according to its website. Operations are scheduled to begin as early as 2023.
The SCP is expected to stimulate the local economy through the creation of hundreds of construction jobs – Skeleton Creek Solar and Storage is expected to create up to 150-200 construction jobs – and also will provide millions of dollars, estimated over the first 30 years of the project, in lease payments to landowners and tax payments to the local communities.