Siemens Curtail the B53 Turbine Blade

Just a few hours after one of its wind turbines threw a blade in the Imperial County town of Ocotillo,  Siemens Energy announced it is shutting down all its turbines worldwide that use the same blade until their safety can be assessed.

The faulty wind turbine at Pattern Energy’s Ocotillo Express Wind facility lost one of its 170 feet ten-ton blades late Wednesday night or early Thursday.  The blade ended up across a Jeep trail on public lands approximately 150 yards from the turbine, but no-one was hurt. It was understood that the wind speed that night was less than 20mph.

Siemens Curtail the B53 Turbine Blade

In a statement which has been widely reported, Siemens Energy said it would be “curtailing” —  in other words slowing or shutting down — all its turbines that use the blade in question, the B53 rotor blade and the turbine was an SWT 2.3Mw  108 Wind Turbine.

Siemens Energy convened a team of experts at the site who will examine all facets of this incident. This will entail close inspection of the the production, installation, commissioning and service of the blade, which is under warranty by Siemens Energy.

Siemens does not yet know the root cause of this incident and is working to determine if and how this is related to a recent similar incident in Iowa six weeks previously. The Iowa incident took place in April at MidAmerican Holdings’ 200-megawatt Eclipse wind farm.

“These turbines will remain curtailed until it can be determined they are not at risk of a similar malfunction,” Siemens said in a statement: “Siemens does not yet know the root cause of this incident and is working to determine if and how this is related to a recent similar incident in Iowa”.
This is bad news for companies who make their money by generating wind energy. They will be hoping that the green light for turbines with the B53 blade can be given quickly, otherwise profits will be affected and there may be compensation claims made against Siemens.
The B-53 blade type is used on around 700 turbines worldwide with the majority operating in the United States.

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