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Fire Knocks Out a Maine Wind Turbine

An unusual event at a western Maine wind farm could mean a $4 million loss for the turbine's Canadian owner

Posted on Apr 30 2013 by Scott Gibson

Fire has destroyed a 3-megawatt turbine that's part of the 44-turbine Kibby Mountain wind farm near the Canadian border, according to an article in the Bangor Daily News. The newspaper published the article on April 23 but said the fire actually had taken place on Jan. 16, noting that wind farm operators in Maine are not required to report turbine fires to any state agency.

The wind farm was built by Calgary-based TransCanada in 2010 and has a total capacity of 132 megawatts, the newspaper said, making it the largest facility of its kind in New England. The fire was limited to a single turbine, and TransCanada said a smoke alarm had detected the blaze and shut off the turbine. When crews arrived the next day, the fire was out.

Turbines at Kibby Mountain are manufactured by Vestas, which is investigating the fire. Immediately after the fire, the company checked 1,000 turbines of the same model that have been installed in the U.S. and Canada but found no abnormalities. The company called equipment fires "a rare occurrence" but didn't speculate on the cause of this one.

The newspaper also reported fires involving Vestas turbines in Ontario on April 2 and in Nebraska in October 2012.

Vestas disclosed last May that some of its V90-3.0 MW turbines might have “malfunctioning bearings” in their gearboxes that would require inspection and possible replacement, the newspaper said. That's the same model that was destroyed at Kibby Mountain but it wasn't clear if the turbine was one of those that had the suspect bearings.


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Image Credits:

  1. Maine Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
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