April 12, 2011 | Mark Paradies

Wind Turbine Accident: Installation? Maintenance? One of a Kind Accident?

Saw an interesting AP article about a wind turbine accident in North Dakota. The rotor and blades of a wind turbine had crashed to the ground.

Scott Winneguth, Director of Engineering for Iberdrola Renewables said the accident was “very out of the ordinary … a singular event.”

He also said:

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 activity would entail”

The first statement and the second statement make no sense when taken together. If this was a one off event, why change their standard practices? Also, why change the standard practices for just a short period of time?

The article also said:

Winneguth said the 70 turbines in the Rugby project were subsequently inspected and each of their 3,360 bolts checked. Seven bolts on four of the turbines were replaced as a precaution.

Seven more bolts replaced???

Duncan Koerbel, an executive for the turbine’s manufacturer, Suzlon Wind Energy Corp, said that the cause of the misalignment was “not known” and he “was not sure” how long the problem took to develop.

Does this sound like the need better troubleshooting and root cause analysis? It does to me!

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