Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Wind Turbines Stand Up to Oklahoma Tornadoes

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Wind Turbines Stand Up to Oklahoma Tornadoes

Article excerpt

The EF5 tornado that ripped through El Reno, Yukon, and south Oklahoma City on May 31 moved a wind turbine blade, but it certainly didn't tear one off of a turbine itself, said wind energy instructors at Canadian Valley Technology Center in El Reno.

Behind the destroyed campus stand two wind turbines that are used for instructional purposes. One, which is 85 feet tall, has three blades. The other one never had blades.

But yards away from the tallest turbine a 140-foot-wind blade lies on the ground, which by simple math one would realize that the wind blade would have dug 65 feet into the ground if it were attached to the tallest turbine tower. The blade had previously been bolted to four large blocks of cement to allow students to learn about the blades during the wind energy classes at the school.

On the evening of May 31, the blade was lifted from its position and flung in front of the day care center, with the end hitting the roof and the rest descending onto the ground. The building is still standing, but the wing that contained the day care center was destroyed.

A television news report immediately after the event said a blade had been blown off the turbine, and that the blade destroyed the child care center. However, that wasn't the case. Every blade that was supposed to be attached to a wind turbine was still attached after the tornado.

Wind Energy Specialist Jason Quiver said he has seen wind turbines stand up to tornadoes before. He was working at the Blue Canyon Wind Farm in Lawton when a tornado came through in 2011 and none of the blades were lost or damaged.

The blade on the ground will now be used for repair and for training purposes for the students, said Sean Hughes, wind energy instructor.

But the wind blade into the day care center was just a small amount of the damage sustained by the technology center.

All of the seven buildings on campus and the greenhouse sustained some type of damage, and others were completely destroyed as they were metal shop buildings.

Spokesman Bill Kramer said the damage is estimated to be at least $30 million.

In the aviation technology building, a Cessna airplane is crushed under the roof of a building after it was nearly pulled from the building before its wings caught onto the exit doorway. …

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