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Storm breaks Enercon and Nordex wind turbine blades in Germany and France

Rotor blades at Enercon E-138 EP3 turbines in Germany and France broke during a heavy autumn storm that hit Europe on Thursday and also damaged a third machine from Nordex.

A blade on an Enercon E-138 EP3 at a wind farm in southern German was severely damaged during ‘storm Ignatz’, but no one was injured in the incident.

All nine 4.2MW wind turbines of the same type have been halted as a precaution at the Nattheim wind farm near the town of Heidenheim in the state of Baden-W├╝rttemberg, the operator said.

The wind farm is owned by municipal utility Stadtwerke Heidenheim (with a 74.9% stake) and the Alterric joint-venture of Enercon parent, the Aloys Wobben Foundation, and German regional utility EWE.

The autumn storm Ignatz caused damage across much of western Germany on Thursday, halting train traffic temporarily in some regions and causing floods in the northern city of Hamburg.

Enercon experts are at the site to investigate the root cause of the accident, and will dismantle the broken blade as soon as weather conditions permit.

All three rotor blades will then be replaced with new ones within the next few weeks, while the blades at the other eight wind turbines will also be checked, the operator said.

The Nattheim wind farm was commissioned in June of this year.

French incident probed

Enercon told Recharge that during the same storm with gusts of more than 100km per hour, a rotor blade of the same turbine type at a wind farm in Auzey in western France has also been damaged.

No one was injured in the French incident either, and an investigation into the root cause has been started.

The storm also damaged a blade of a Nordex N117-2.4MW turbine at a wind farm in the western German near the town of Cochem in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, police said.

“A rotor blade of a wind turbine in the Zilshausen district was torn off by the storm and broke into innumerable pieces,” a police report said.

“A debris field was created within a radius of approx. 150 meters from the wind turbine. No damage to property or personal injury from the flying parts was recorded.

Nordex confirmed the incident and said its experts were investigating the root cause of the incident.

The damaged turbine had been maintained regularly, Nordex added.

The OEM last month had suffered the collapse of a turbine from its N149 model at a wind farm in western Germany for yet unknown reasons in what appears to be an unrelated event.