DTE Energy and GE are investigating a broken wind turbine blade in Sigel Township, Mich. According to DTE Energy, a 48.7-meter blade broke on Friday, Feb. 19, during a period of high wind speeds.
“DTE Energy has not determined the root cause of the event at Sigel 29; an investigation into the cause is under way,” a DTE Energy spokesperson tells NAW. “We are in the process of finalizing plans with GE to safely remove the broken blade from Sigel 29, and we will conduct a thorough root cause analysis on the blade once it is safe and secure on the ground.”
DTE Energy tells NAW that Sigel 29 is one of 40 wind turbines at the 64 MW Sigel Wind Park, which went online on Dec. 21, 2012. Sigel Wind Park is one of three wind energy projects at the Thumb Wind Park, which has a total combined output of 110 MW. The DTE Energy spokesperson tells NAW that Sigel 29 will experience an “extended outage” as the company performs “extensive top-to-bottom” inspections of the entire turbine.
According to DTE Energy, wind speeds in the area during the blade failure were at 14.9 meters per second (m/s). A study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in 2010 estimated average wind speeds in the area of the Thumb Wind Park to be between 6.5 m/s and 7.5 m/s.
DTE Energy also confirmed that the failed Sigel wind turbine is the same GE model 1.6-100 turbine that was involved in a blade failure at the nearby Echo Wind Park in 2013. However, the DTE Energy spokesperson added that there is “no evidence to date that suggests the Sigel 29 event is related to the Echo Wind Park blade issues in 2013.”