Blade breaks off wind turbine at Ocotillo Wind project - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Blade breaks off wind turbine at Ocotillo Wind project

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Photos courtesy Ocotillo resident Jim Pelley. Photos courtesy Ocotillo resident Jim Pelley.

JACUMBA (CNS) - A 173-foot-long blade broke off a wind turbine and fell to the ground at a 315-megawatt wind farm that supplies electricity to San Diego, it was reported Saturday.

The blade was found near its base Thursday under one of the 112 wind-powered generating turbines at the Ocotillo Wind project near the San Diego-Imperial county line, the Imperial Valley Press reported.

No injuries were reported, according to the El Centro newspaper. But worldwide use of that model of turbine has been suspended while the mishap is investigated by its manufacturer, Siemens.

The Ocotillo Wind project began commercial operations in December, transmitting energy to San Diego Gas & Electric Co. customers via the firm's Sunrise Powerlink, the new 117-mile transmission line between Imperial and San Diego counties.

In April, a blade broke from a similar Siemens turbine at an Iowa wind energy facility, the Imperial Valley Press reported.

Siemens Energy said in a statement the cause of the malfunction was unknown and officials were working to determine if the two incidents were related. Siemens would globally curtail use of turbines with that type of blade until they are considered safe, according to the Imperial Valley Press.

Matt Dallas, a spokesman for Pattern Energy, also told the El Centro newspaper that the turbines would not return to operation until they had been evaluated and were deemed safe.

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