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Faulty gear box found at Buffalo Ridge

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An irregularity in the gear box of a Zond 750 kW wind turbine at Enron Wind Corp's Lake Benton I project on Buffalo Ridge in Minnesota has prompted Enron to replace the turbine. Zond is the turbine manufacturing arm of Enron. Enron inspectors noticed the irregularity during a routine inspection, says the company's Mary McCann. The turbine was functioning normally at the time, she notes. "It was simpler to change out a turbine with another one and ship it back, take it apart and send the gear box out to the manufacturer to test it," she says. "The gear box was not damaged," she adds. "It just looked weird." In 1997, the gear boxes of 11 Zond Z-40 turbines were replaced in Vermont. The gear teeth had been damaged from a slight vibration that occurred while the rotors were held stationary by a mechanical brake (Windpower Monthly, June 1997).

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