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Zond blade failure in Palm Springs

Last month a 40 metre blade split apart on a new Zond Z-750 wind turbine near Palm Springs in winds of about 40 mph. Afterwards a sizeable portion of the blade could be seen dangling from the part that was still attached about two metres from the root. The incident occurred on January 20 on one of the 53 Z-750 turbines at Enron Wind's Cabazon project. A preliminary investigation suggests the incident was due to a manufacturing defect. Enron Wind's Mary McCann says it appears the spar was not adequately glued to the shell along a high stress section of the blade, compromising the blade's structural integrity. She notes that in 1998 the company made about 1500 blades and that this is the only failure. The blade was made in Brazil by TECSIS, one of five blade suppliers used by Zond, which along with Enron Wind is part of international energy company Enron Corp. TECSIS, based in Sao Paulo, has made blades for several European manufacturers, says Enercon. The remainder of the 150 sets made by TECSIS were being inspected in the air. TECSIS is certified by Germanischer Lloyd as a blade maker.

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