United States

United States

NY Public Services Commission clears Noble over turbine collapse

UNITED STATES: An investigation into a turbine collapse at the 97.5MW Noble Altona Windpark in upstate New York has found the wind farm owner's maintenance procedures were not at fault.

The Noble Altona wind park where the turbine collapse occurred
The Noble Altona wind park where the turbine collapse occurred

The New York State Public Service Commission has now closed its investigation into the March 2009 turbine failure at the wind farm, which is located in Clinton County.

The investigation found that developer-owner Noble Environmental Power had inspected and maintained the wind farm in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.

As a result, the commission said turbine maker GE has made product and process improvements to prevent a similar accident happening again.

The accident occurred when the wind farm lost electrical power and two of the 1.5MW units failed to move into safe mode.

The rotor and blades of one turbine spun at about three times operational design speed. The blades "apparently" made contact with the tower, the commission said, which led to the tower's collapse.

Oil in the nacelle then caught fire and the unit suffered heavy damage. Additionally, the blades of the second turbine also spun freely and were damaged.

Commission chairman Garry Brown said: "The commission is encouraged by the steps that Noble has taken to implement robust site control and internal reporting and scheduling procedures subsequent to the Altona turbine failure investigation."

He added: "The commission expects Noble to make certain that its electric plant and facilities are secure, and that public safety outside of the turbine setback areas is reasonably assured."

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