WildCat I Blade Failures

Another WildCat I Blade Failure April 2 – EON and the Commissioners Fail to Protect the Community During Investigation. The turbine is located just east of 500 East and north of Highway 28 in Tipton County.
 
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​April 7, 2014 WildCat I loses 2nd Blade in less than 2 months Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile by Ralph Nader, criticized car manufacturers of their reluctance to spend money on improving safety. It was a pioneering work that prompted the passage of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, seat-belt laws and a number of other road-safety initiatives.
While there is a healthy debate among the experts regarding the environmental benefits of wind energy the focus of Tipton County CRD has always been to ensure that wind development is done without harm to homeowners and help with issues faced by the homeowners living with existing wind farms.
As wind energy continues it Wild West approach with impunity in these United States of America it is sobering to glance at the short 5 page summary of accidents, fatalities, affects upon human health, blade failures, fires, structural failures, ice throws and environmental damage caused by the Industrial Wind Turbines (IWT) – http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/accidents.pdf
It is abundantly clear that the Wind Industry cares about their image more than the safety of the people living around their IWTs when their spokesperson, Elon Hasson of Eon in this case, states, “such failures are rare” after the first blade failure in Wildcat-1 in February of this year. GE another wind industry giant followed suit by issuing statement that included, “Blade breaks in wind turbines are rare”.
It is odd that what wind industry continues to call rare seems to happen with awful regularity. According to above cited Caithness Wind Farm Report, almost 30 blade failures occurred last year.
Every industry has issues and CRD is well aware of it. In fact, due to this awareness, CRD has been a proponent of developing wind ordinances while keeping these types of failures in mind. According to Caithness WF Report, “Pieces of blade are documented as travelling up to one mile. In Germany, blade pieces have gone through the roofs and walls of nearby buildings. This is why CWIF believe that there should be a minimum distance of at least 2km between turbines and occupied housing, in order to adequately address public safety and other issues including noise and shadow flicker.”
Even though CRD was able to push for many improvements in the new Tipton County Wind Ordinance glaring omissions exist. The ordinance still allows a setback waiver essentially doing away with the public safety achieved by the 2640ft setback. It still lacks safety enforcements like one is needed right now. Wildcat-1 should be shut down until the nature of blades failures are completely understood.
Tipton County Citizens for Responsible Development has always cited reputable studies when discussing the reliability of wind turbines. According to “Permitting Setbacks for Wind Turbines in California and the Blade Throw Hazard” by Scott Larwood of California Wind Energy Collaborative University of California, Davis,
“The available documentation shows blade failure probability in the 1-in-100 to 1-in-1000 per turbine per year range. There is no indication of improvement of this statistic with new technology.”
Another study, Reliability performance and maintenance – A survey of failures in wind power systems Master Thesis by Johan Ribrant that reviewed actual failure data from wind turbines in Sweden, Finland and Germany concluded even a higher blade failure rate.
The blade failure in Tipton matches these studies, data does not lie.

WildCat I Blade Failure February, 2014

I find it interesting that after the recent wind turbine blade failure in Tipton, Eon Spokesman, Elon Hasson was quoted in Kokomo Tribune as “such failures are rare” and GE issued statement included, “Blade breaks in wind turbines are rare”.

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It is odd that what wind industry continues to call rare seems to happen with awful regularity. As I write this, just hours ago in Pennsylvania, another blade snapped in half at the EverPower owned turbine farm near Dunlo in Adams Township.

A quick search of news articles show that 4 blade failures of GE1.6-100 model turbine occurred during 8 months. This does not include the recent blade failure in Wildcat-I wind farm in Tipton and there probably are more that I did not find.

March 11 2013: A blade broke in half at DTE’s Thumb Wind Park in March.

Nov 7, 2013: A blade snapped in half and fell to the ground at DTE Energy’s 112MW Echo project in Michigan while a newly installed turbine was being commissioned.

Nov 17, 2013: A blade sheared off on the 5th day of commissioning of “turbine 34” at Invenergy’ s 94MW Orangeville wind farm in New York State.

Nov 20, 2013: A broken blade at Invenergy’s California Ridge project in Illinois, which was commissioned in 2012, was linked to extreme weather.

Tipton County Citizens for Responsible Development has always cited reputable studies when discussing the reliability of wind turbines. According to “Permitting Setbacks for Wind Turbines in California and the Blade Throw Hazard” by Scott Larwood of California Wind Energy Collaborative University of California, Davis,

“The available documentation shows blade failure probability in the 1-in-100 to 1-in-1000 per turbine per year range. There is no indication of improvement of this statistic with new technology.”

Another study, Reliability performance and maintenance – A survey of failures in wind power systems Master Thesis by Johan Ribrant that reviewed actual failure data from wind turbines in Sweden, Finland and Germany concluded even a higher blade failure rate.

The blade failure in Tipton matches these studies. We have 1 blade failure in 125 turbines in approximately one year. Data does not lie.

Imran Malik

Russiaville

Ordinance Changes Approved by the Plan Commission – Feb. 20, 2014

Commissioner Phil Heron introduced changes in the ordinance proposed by the Plan Commission that reduced protections for sound and setbacks. Heron gutted the sound protections that would ensure that turbine noise could not be louder than ambient noise and failed to consult with a sound expert as he promised. Heron also failed to protect all county residences by requiring a minimum setback even if they sign a waiver. This means leaseholders would need to have in their own contract provisions to protect themselves or they have no protection.

Preview: A Brief Review of Recent Wind Farm Decommissioning Studies

There are many wind farm decommissioning studies publicly available since decommissioning studies are required by most local governments prior to construction. This review examines five in-depth reports published between 2007 and 2012. These reports were selected because they contain highly detailed costing and salvage information along with descriptions of project activities thus allowing the reader to delve into the assumptions supporting the estimates.
 
Claims are sometimes made that the salvage value of turbines offsets the cost of decommissioning so that no financial assurances are needed, particularly early in the life of the turbines. However, the estimated cost of decommissioning exceeded the salvage value in 4 of the 5 studies. Assuming that costs minus salvage values are similar to those reported in these studies, the overall net cost to decommission a 100 turbine wind farm would be in the neighborhood of $3 million. Of course the exact cost is dependent on many complex factors so this is just an average. Some of the studies suggest a much higher price-tag and others suggest a lower net cost.  

What accounts for the cost of decommissioning?

What accounts for the cost of decommissioning? About one third of the cost of decommissioning a wind farm is the dismantling of each WECS. Another third of the cost is project management and the cost of bringing in and assembling the cranes necessary to safety dismantle the WECS. It is not as simple as applying explosives as suggested by a leaseholder in the movie Windfall. The turbine contains hundreds of gallons of lubricants and toxic rare earth metals that must be carefully disposed. The final third of the cost is related to site preparation (similar to preparation during construction), foundation removal and dismantling the electrical systems including substations if required.

 
Many readers may have seen the news stories regarding the two Falmouth, MA turbines. Headlines show that the town is voting to raise millions of dollars to remove the turbines just a couple of years after installation. Why are the numbers for these other projects so much lower than Falmouth? Come to the May 7th Tipton County CRD Meetings to get the whole story about wind farm decommissioning.