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Blade falls off nearly 500-foot-tall wind turbine in Gloucester  

Credit:  By Matt Yan, Globe Correspondent | The Boston Globe | Updated July 31, 2022 | www.bostonglobe.com ~~

A blade fell off a nearly 500-foot-tall wind turbine in Gloucester on Sunday morning, forcing the closure of an adjacent road, officials said.

Gloucester firefighters responded to a report that one of the three blades on a 492-foot-tall turbine had fallen off at Applied Materials on Dory Road in the Blackburn Industrial Park at around 7 a.m., according to a statement from city officials.

No injuries were reported, officials said. There was no structural damage reported “aside from the damage sustained in the turbine failure itself,” according to the statement.

As a precaution, Gloucester fire set up “an approximately 450-foot collapse zone around the turbine … and as a result closed a portion of Great Republic Drive in the Blackburn Industrial Park,” officials said.

The owner and operator of the turbine, Applied Materials, told the city “that the cause of the failure remains unknown, but that multiple inspections of the turbine tower and remaining two blades identified no imminent structural concerns,” according to the statement.

Great Republic Drive has since been reopened to traffic, after the company provided written notification that the area was safe to reopen, officials said. However, an exclusion zone, which is entirely on Applied Materials property, remained in place around the tower Sunday evening, according to the statement.

In the Blackburn Industrial Park, there are two other wind turbines that are operated by a different company, officials said.

“The City of Gloucester has a power purchase agreement with a separate, private company that operates two other wind turbines in the Blackburn Industrial Park, and the city works closely with the owners of those turbines to ensure inspections and maintenance are conducted regularly,” officials said.

In an e-mail, Applied Materials said the turbine went online in December 2012 and “is compliant with regular maintenance.” The turbine, the company said, operated as it was designed to do in the event of a system failure.

“The onboard controls immediately responded and placed the turbine in a safe mode. The remaining components of the turbine, including the tower and remaining blades, are intact and secure, and will undergo a complete inspection by the turbine maintenance vendor,” the company said.

The company said this type of incident has never happened to this turbine. The incident caused “little damage on the ground,” and the remaining components are “intact and secure,” the company said.

A full investigation by the turbine maintenance vendor is underway and “will take some time to complete,” the company said.

Source:  By Matt Yan, Globe Correspondent | The Boston Globe | Updated July 31, 2022 | www.bostonglobe.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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