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North Dakota Iberdrola Renewables wind farm accident “very out of the ordinary” and “a singular event”

As Panchabuta had reported a couple of weeks back, 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 and is powered by Suzlon turbines. 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 earlier

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.

According to recent reports, Scott Winneguth, director of wind plant engineering for Iberdrola Renewables Inc. of Portland, Ore said, the accident was “very out of the ordinary” and “a singular event” that did not indicate a broader problem.

“I can assure you, for the near term, that we will check for bolt integrity and misalignment on a much more frequent basis than our normal maintenance activities would entail,” Winneguth told the three North Dakota commissioners, who are responsible for regulating large wind energy projects.

Normal maintenance procedures, Winneguth said, “are not designed to detect this sort of misalignment.”

Commissioner Kevin Cramer said Monday the information would be useful in evaluating future requests for locating North Dakota wind farms.

“They seem to have figured out what created the failure on the one turbine,” Cramer said. “I’m certainly encouraged they didn’t have a bunch of other ones to report to us.”

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