Turbine topples amid high winds


February 20, 2019

Courtesy photo: Shawna Shoemaker Stowe

One of the wind turbines in the Casa Mesa Wind Energy Center near House collapsed Saturday amid high winds.

High winds apparently toppled a wind turbine Saturday near House in Quay County. No one was hurt during the mishap, but it caused a lot of chatter on social media.

Shana Shoemaker Stowe of House shared an album of photos of the downed wind turbine on Facebook. As of Monday morning, it had been shared more than 2,900 times on the popular social-media network and prompted hundreds of comments.

Bryan Garner, a media-relations representative for NextEra Energy Resources that runs the Casa Mesa Wind Energy Center wind farm near House, stated in an email Sunday that the wind turbine "failed" about noon Saturday.

"We monitor our sites remotely, 24/7, and saw that it was not operating properly. The site came online late last year," Garner stated.

"We will be working with the turbine manufacturer to investigate the incident and try to determine what's caused the failure. Safety is our top priority at NextEra Energy Resources. No one was injured in the incident and no property was damaged. We have been in contact with the landowner and the local sheriff's office and safely secured the site. All other wind turbines at the site (20) are operating normally," he added.

Garner didn't speculate on what caused the wind turbine to fall over. However, other turbine mishaps that have occurred during high winds were because the turbine's braking system failed. Modern wind turbines are designed to shut off or slow their blades during high winds. If the blades turn too fast, it can cause the entire structure to become unstable and then disintegrate.

According to the National Weather Service, Tucumcari Municipal Airport recorded wind gusts of 52 and 54 mph Saturday afternoon, with steady winds of 35 to 45 mph.


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