‘Rare Failure’ Discovered At Pennsylvania Wind Farm

Giant blades of some wind turbines are cracked, but officials don’t know why.

PORTAGE, Pa (AP) – The giant blades on some wind turbines at a Cambria County wind farm are showing cracks, but officials are not sure what’s causing the problem.

“The failure that we see here, from our perspective and our experience, is a very rare failure,” said Alberto Gros, the manager of the Gamesa Inc. plant in Ebensburg, which makes the 143-foot-long blades. “We haven’t seen it before.”

Some 40 wind turbines at the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm at the Blair-Cambria County border were supposed to begin turning soon, but now the start may be pushed back to April, according to Babcock & Brown, which owns the wind farm. The problem was found on seven blades on various wind turbines at the site.

It appears that some pliable Fiberglas on the outside of the blades is not staying properly bonded to molded harder Fiberglas and plastic that forms the blades. All seven blades exhibited the cracks only after they were installed on the wind turbines.

The plant has manufactured 360 blades since it opened last year, some shipped as far away as Texas and Illinois, but Gamesa officials said no other problems have been reported.

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