On Tuesday, a massive Oklahoma wind turbine at the one of the country’s largest wind farms was decimated by a storm. When first responders arrived on the scene at 4:30 pm, they found one of the turbines on fire.
Video posted to YouTube shows the enormous structure crumbling to the ground, decimated in the wake of the storm. The huge GE turbine snapped like a toothpick, a rare sight to see.
A spokesperson for the Public Service Company of Oklahoma said the area had been secured. They reported no injuries because of the incident.
The company stated the cause of the incident remains under investigation. The scene appeared similar to a wind turbine struck by lightning in Texas in late July. Because of this, many believe the Oklahoma wind turbine was struck with lightning, too. However, this has yet to be confirmed.
Doppler radar indicates plenty of lightning around the Traverse facility at the time of the incident. However, lightning hasn’t been ruled out as authorities continue investigating.
The 356 GE turbine-powered wind farm spans two counties in Oklahoma. The site is considered to be one of the world’s largest wind farms. However, the Public Service Company of Oklahoma reported no other damage at the site other than the lone turbine.
Oklahoma Wind Turbines and Turbines Across Country Have Endangered Eagle Populations
Recently, an American wind energy company called ESI Energy, Inc. is in hot water with authorities. The company pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges related to the death of at least 150 bald and golden eagles. According to Reuters, ESI Energy Inc., a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Inc., will spend over $27 million in an effort to prevent future death.
Most of the deaths of these bald and golden eagles occurred from the turbines’ blades slicing the birds mid-flight.
ESI Energy entered a plea agreement for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), the U.S. Justice Department reported. Federal law strictly prohibits endangering bald eagles, specifically because the bird serves as our national emblem.
According to court documents, most of the eagles killed weren’t bald eagles but golden eagles.
However, some bald eagles did die, an action that rightfully incenses many. While the US uses the bald eagle to symbolize its democracy and national unity, countries like Afghanistan, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, and Scotland use the golden eagle as a symbol of their respective countries.
Recently, conservationists took the bald eagle from the endangered species list in 2007. Decades of efforts to restore the population paid off. However, the golden eagle faces greater threats of depopulation than bald eagles. Golden eagles face endangerment from wind farms, illegal hunters, and habitat destruction.