Chris Aldridge / Huron Daily Tribune
A nearly 400-foot, 485,000-pound wind turbine has fallen down on a farm field in Huron County at the site of the state’s first utility-scale wind project.
Oliver Township Supervisor Larry Krohn said it came down at about 5:20 a.m. this morning in the middle of the field.
“He just heard a noise and it sounded like a tree cracking or something and a little rumble of thunder when it hit the ground,” Krohn said of the resident’s account of the situation.
The fallen turbine is part of Exelon Wind Generation’s 32-turbine Harvest Wind Farm, the first utility-scale wind project built in Michigan. It began operation in 2008.
Krohn says he hasn’t seen any damage other than to the wind turbine itself. He says he hadn’t heard from Exelon Wind Generation as of 12:30 p.m.
The turbine’s tower is made of steel with three fiberglass blades, according to Exelon. It came down near the Berne and Gagetown roads intersection in Section 6, the northwest corner of the township.
“An incident like this has not happened at an Exelon wind farm,” said Kristen Otterness, communications manager for Exelon, which has 47 wind projects across the country in 10 states.
There were no injuries to employees or the public, Otterness said. She says the area around the turbine has been roped off and is in a safe and secure condition.
Otterness says Exelon is looking into the cause of the fall. The company notified the sheriff’s office and landowners, she said.
“We do have employees out there right now,” she said.
She said she can’t speculate as to Exelon’s plan or next steps but will know more after crews inspect the scene.
“We’re going to wait to get a response from Exelon before we do anything,” Krohn said.
Readers called the Tribune on Thursday morning reporting a turbine had fallen to the ground.
The fall marks the second incident in less than a week in which a wind turbine has failed.
Crews are still investigating how a 160-foot, 7-ton wind turbine blade broke in eastern Huron County, leaving it dangling like a shoelace and torqued around the structure. The damaged blade was on one of DTE Energy’s 40 turbines in Sigel Township, near Section Line and Finkel roads. DTE says it happened at about 3:15 p.m. Friday.
DTE says the turbine automatically shut down after the incident. The utility expects an “extended outage” for the turbine during repairs and while “extensive top to bottom inspections of the entire turbine are conducted.”