Another blade has broken off at the same GE turbine that had already seen one of its blades snap earlier this month at a wind farm in Germany.
The incident last week brought the number of broken GE blades at the Alfstedt-Ebersdorf wind farm in Lower Saxony to three as a first blade had broken off last year at one of the wind farm’s eight GE 5.3-158 turbines.
Works had just begun during the day on Thursday to carry out a controlled drop of rotor blade components that were still hanging down from the blade that had partially broken off on October 14/15 at the wind farm, when in the evening on Thursday evening another rotor blade on the same wind turbine snapped, developer and operator Energiekontor said.
No one was injured, and no further plastic parts of the bent rotor blade have been scattered in the immediate area.
The removal work of the fallen debris from the first incident, which has been ongoing since October 19 was interrupted for safety reasons.
Energiekontor said it still doesn’t know the root cause of either of the incidents, while investigations are still ongoing. The operator also has requested a statement from the manufacturer on the events, which has not yet been made available.
GE has seen several incidents involving the same turbine model at the Björkvattnet wind project in Sweden. The OEM has also suffered a previous blade brake at one of its flagship GE 5.3-158 Cypress wind turbines at another wind farm in Germany early last year, the Bürgerwind Gronau Epe wind farm.
GE when contacted by Recharge mainly confirmed what Energiekontor said, but provided no comment on a possible relation to the Swedish incidents.
"A single wind turbine at the Alfstedt wind farm in Germany experienced a blade incident on Oct 15. A second blade that was damaged in that initial event showed signs of additional damage on October 26," a GE Vernova Onshore Wind spokesman said.
"The turbine was not operating after the first incident, and no injuries occurred as a result of either incident. We continue to work with our customer to determine the root cause."
Energiekontor said affected farmers and property owners in the surrounding area can report their damage from the first damage event to the company. The operator will record the matter, examine it and try to provide rapid support.
Farmers interviewed by public broadcaster NRD after the first blade break had complained about insufficient information and support amid the suspicion that carbon fibre components from the debris of the first broken blade could harm their livestock if ingested.
Rotenburg district, which includes Alfsted, has asked Energiekontor to dismantle all rotor blades of the affected turbine and to submit an updated timetable and action plan by November 1st.
UPDATED with statement by GE