Turbine Fire Erupts at Warren Buffett-Owned MidAmerican Wind Farm
Posted 19/10/2023 12:51
Dramatic footage captured by local newscasts on Tuesday showed a Vestas turbine ablaze at the Arbor Hill Wind Farm, owned by MidAmerican Energy, in Adair County, Iowa. The 2MW Vestas V110 turbine, situated within the 310MW wind farm utilizing turbines with varying nameplate capacities of 2MW and 4MW, was engulfed in flames, leading to burning debris falling into nearby cornfields and causing plumes of smoke visible for miles.
Despite the prompt response from local fire brigades, they were unable to access the nacelle due to its height, which reportedly reaches 95 meters. Fortunately, the fire stopped burning around 1500 US Central Time, with no reported injuries. However, the nacelle and one of the blades were consumed by the fire.
Adair County's emergency manager, Robert Kempf, emphasized that the fire could have caused more extensive damage had the cornfields not been previously harvested.
Geoff Greenwood, the communications director for MidAmerican, highlighted the company's commitment to safety and stated that they would collaborate with the fire department and Vestas-American Wind Technology, the turbine manufacturer, to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident, including a root cause analysis.
A Vestas spokesperson also confirmed that the company would work with the customer to determine the root cause of the fire once the turbine was deemed safe to access.
Greenwood noted that a few turbines on the same circuit were temporarily offline, but the rest of the wind farm was operating as usual. While he described such incidents as extremely rare, it is the second such occurrence at a MidAmerican-owned wind farm in Iowa this year.
In February, a blade separated from the hub of a Siemens Gamesa 2.3MW turbine at MidAmerican's Lundgren project, leading to no injuries or equipment damage. MidAmerican, a part of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, had previously suspended various Vestas turbines in 2020 following blade incidents related to built-in lightning protection systems.