Photos and video by Jim Pelley
Jan. 15, 2015 (Ocotillo) Jim Pelley contacted Reporting San Diego because nacelle on tower 110 at the Ocotillo Wind Express in Imperial County caught fire this afternoon. This facility has had a few issues even before it came on line. It was the subject of many lawsuits from residents who tried to stop it, on multiple grounds, including antiquities preservation and raptor preservation.
Among other problems the facility has had a nacelle throw a blade, and that led to the shutdown of the facility for a considerable amount of time in 2013. The blade came off in June 2013, as was originally reported in East County Magazine.
At the time Donna Tisdale, who chaired the Boulevard Planning Board told East County Magazine:
“Overnight one of the Siemens 1.3 Units threw a blade and crashed on a public access trail.” She emphasized that this was one of the things that residents of both Ocotillo in western Imperial County and Boulevard in eastern San Diego County warned about.
According to Pelley the Nacelle was smoking at around three, and that is when he shot the photographs and video we are using with his permission. According to Pelley, which surprised me as well, the facility is still on line. In December of 2013 an explosion and consequent brush fire at the Campo wind farm in the Campo reservation shut down that facility for some time.
Fires were also a fear that many residents of the far East County and Ocotillo have. They are nervous that during a Santa Anna one of these nacelles could start a disastrous wind driven fire, which the fire services will be hard pressed to stop. Moreover these towers have hundreds of gallons of oil, and this particular one could reignite. The Fire Department is staying overnight to deal with that possibility.
While we speak of green energy, there is a definite downside to it and it has to be balanced. No technology is free of consequences.
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