Power Generation is in Places It Has Never Been Before
wind swept through the
farmland, spinning the blades on a school district’s wind
turbine. Out of balance because of a broken part on a blade
tip, the turbine began to vibrate, wobble and shake. The
blades turned faster, until the support tower’s legs
snapped off and vaulted the heavy turbine into the ground.
COST OF GOING "GREEN"
On the way down, the fiberglass blades struck electrical
lines, breaking into pieces and knocking out power to the
school. The small turbine saved the school about $3,500 a
year in energy costs; the breakdown claim paid by HSB
EQUIPMENT, NEW RISKS
We’re discovering on-site power generation where it has
never been before, such as districts, office buildings and
retail locations. New renewable forms of power generation,
including wind, water and micro-turbines, are gaining
Located near some of the world’s largest wind farms, the
rural school district installed the 50 kW wind turbine to
reduce operating costs. All power generated from the turbine
was sent into the main utility grid and deducted from the
district's electric bill.
LOST ITS BRAKE
A week before the breakdown, a maintenance worker noticed that the aerodynamic brake on one of three turbine blades had broken off. The brake is a tip section that can be turned 90 degrees, using wind resistance to prevent the blades from rotating. It was not repaired and the turbine blades were not secured in the storm.
PART LEADS TO BREAKDOWN
The accident caused by the broken blade tip brake shorted
out electrical wiring in the equipment and damaged the
turbine and generator casings. The generator was buried
about 18 inches in the ground and a security fence was
The wind turbine breakdown shows the exposure of even
small-scale renewable energy equipment and other small power
generation systems. As more municipalities and businesses
generate power, the risks will increase.