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KVS-33 THROWS BLADE IN PALM SPRINGS

A Kenetech 33K-VS wind turbine tossed a blade early last month in Palm Springs, according to local reports. At the start of the wind season, one turbine near Dillon Road lost a blade, then ran for a while out of balance before casting the two remaining blades. Only the stubs of the blades were left, and the tower was visibly damaged. At one point Dillon Road was also closed down, because pieces of one of the blades had been found on the far side of the road. The turbine, the fifth in a row, may have been as much as one quarter-mile from the road, according to local reports. Two other turbines at the 17 MW Palm Springs plant were also seen without blades, suggesting that Kenetech is still having to fix damaged blades. This follows losses at Kenetech's Buffalo Ridge plant late in the autumn. Since October or November, six to eight full sets of blades on Buffalo Ridge have been replaced. Cracks are also visible on other blades at the wind farm, near the roots. One knowledgeable source speculates they might have been caused by the different expansion rates of the metal and fibreglass during extreme weather. In 1995, there were reports of widespread technical problems at Kenetech sites, including a series of blade failures.

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