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United States

Wiring anomaly behind collapse of GE turbine

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The collapse of a GE Energy 1.5 MW wind turbine early last month at Noble Environmental Power's 97.5 MW Altona Windpark in north-eastern New York state has been attributed to the combination of a power outage affecting the entire wind plant and wiring problems in two turbines. According to Noble, the loss of grid power triggered the pitch control systems on all the turbines to halt the rotors. But inspection has since revealed a wiring anomaly in two of the turbines that resulted in the pitch system not responding properly, causing their rotors to over speed. One turbine was damaged but remained standing and the other collapsed, causing a small fire at its base that was quickly extinguished. Noble shut down all 65 turbines immediately following the incident. No one was injured. The debris thrown farthest, a piece of glass fibre, landed just over 100 metres away, well inside local setback laws. GE, which has installed more than 12,000 of its 1.5 MW turbines around the globe, sent engineers to test other turbines in Noble's fleet. By mid-March, all but the two turbines damaged at the Altona project were back online, says Noble's Maggy Wisniewski. Noble, founded in 2004, is majority owned by JP Morgan Partners Fund, which is managed by New York City-based CCMP Capital Advisers.

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