NAW has learned that a rotor came crashing to the ground at the 149.1 MW Rugby Wind Power Project, located near Rugby, N.D. The wind farm, owned and operated by Iberdrola Renewables, consists of 71 2.1 MW wind turbines, which were manufactured by Suzlon Wind Energy Corp.
According to a local resident, the incident occurred around 2:30 p.m. local time on Monday. There were no reported injuries.
Dan Smith, a local commercial photographer who has photographed the wind project from its early stages, says the wind farm's technicians told him that the incident may have stemmed from a failed braking mechanism.
‘It looks like the braking mechanism failed, and the rotor gained speed, flexed and hit the tower and sheared off the mounting plate at the hub where it connects with the nacelle,’ Smith explains.
He adds that the rotor appeared to scrape the tower on its way to the ground, which could require the tower to be replaced as well.
The wind farm, which was dedicated in October 2010, sells a portion of its output to Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Missouri River Energy Services.
When reached for comment, Suzlon corroborated the date of the incident and that no one was injured. The company's global service team issued the following statement:
‘In partnership with our customer, Iberdrola Renewables, Suzlon is currently conducting an investigation into the cause of this incident.’
According to Suzlon's website, the S88-2.1 MW turbine is designed for medium wind speeds and to withstand extreme conditions. The S88 blades were manufactured at Suzlon's Pipestone, Minn.-based facility.
Photo credit: Dan Smith, Dan Smith Photo, copyright 2011