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Bolt failure cause of accident in Suzlon powered Spanish owned 149MW Iberdrola Renewables wind farm in North Dakota

As Panchabuta has earlier said, Suzlon announced a very impressive record order book of $7.3bn equal to about 5000MW of Wind capacity last quarter. Suzlon in the last couple of months has been on a trail blazing order booking spree. Some of the significant wins have been covered by Panchabuta.

According to reports, the turbine box and three huge blades from a wind tower in north-central North Dakota crashed to the ground. The tower is part of a 149-megawatt wind farm owned by Iberdrola Renewables. It includes 71 steel towers.

Bolt failures caused a wind turbine’s rotor and blades to fall from a tower in north-central North Dakota, and six other turbines have been shut down while their bolts are replaced, a state regulator said Thursday. 

Members of North Dakota’s Public Service Commission, which oversaw the development of the 71-turbine wind farm, said Thursday they would seek more detailed information about how widespread the problems may be.

“That’s a fair bit of equipment concern that I would have, quite frankly,” Commissioner Kevin Cramer said.

Jerry Lein, a commission utility analyst, said Iberdrola officials told him that bolts that attached the wind turbine’s rotor and blades to a power shaft had failed. The shaft transfers the energy generated by the turning blades to an electric generator.

Lein said the wind farm was shut down and its turbines inspected. The turbines that did not need bolt replacement have been restarted, he said. The damaged material has been sent to a lab for analysis.

“They want to look further into the mechanism there that was failed before,” he said. “They said that, specifically, they’re replacing the bolts that hold it together.”

The bolts are normally checked every six months, Lein said.

Commissioner Brian Kalk said the agency should seek to examine the wind farm’s maintenance records. He wants to hear more information from the companies within two weeks, Kalk said.

“I’d like (the companies) to get back in front of us as quickly as possible … and give us their best estimate of what is going on,” Kalk said.

The commission’s president, Tony Clark, said the agency should hold an informal hearing on the incident.

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