GE: Blade break issue 'dealt with'

The manufacturing “anomaly” that caused a number of blades breakages recently at wind farms employing GE turbines “has been dealt with”, Anne McEntee, GE’s vice president for renewables, tells Recharge.

Several weeks ago a blade broke and fell to the ground at the 200.6MW Prairie Breeze wind farm in Nebraska, the second such incident at a project owned by Invenergy since late 2013.

The first occurred at Invenergy’s Orangeville project in New York state, which GE subsequently blamed on a “manufacturing anomaly” for the spar cap, which helps to support the blade’s outer shell.

Another blade broke last November at a GE turbine installed at a Michigan wind farm owned by DTE Energy.

The spate of incidents is “not necessarily out of the ordinary, in terms of the expected failure rate”, says McEntee.

Nevertheless, “we feel right now that the [affected] blade population is contained”, she says.

“We’ve exchanged out some blades, working with customers. We feel like the problem’s been dealt with.”

DTE Energy told Recharge that the defective blade at its Michigan project was produced by a GE supplier in Brazil. McEntee, however, declined to confirm who the supplier is.

“We have very tight quality control process around our whole supply base,” she says.