UMPI’s Wind Turbine is Offline Following Damaging Fire
A fire late Sunday night at the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s wind turbine knocked out power to much of the campus for about 2 ½ hours.
Presque Isle Fire Department responded to the call around 10:50 p.m., according to Fire Captain Nate Allen. Crews from Emera Maine also responded and the blaze was extinguished quickly. A dozen firefighters remain on site for about an hour. There were no injuries reported. Power was restored to campus at approximately 1:30 a.m. Monday
The turbine site - which is situated more than 1,800 feet from residence halls and other buildings - has been secured to ensure campus safety, according to a press release from the University on Monday. The campus is open and classes are being conducted as scheduled.
Technicians from Vestas, the company that oversees maintenance of the wind turbine, were on site Monday to investigate the incident and conduct a damage assessment, the press release said.
.Officials say the turbine will remain offline and the site secured until all assessments are complete and university officials have an opportunity to review the findings and consider how best to meet the future power needs of the campus. UMPI has always remained connected to the local power grid and will continue to have access to the power needed to maintain campus operations.
“We are incredibly grateful for the hard work done by the Presque Isle Fire Department, Presque Isle Police Department, Emera Maine, and our own Facilities crew members for ensuring this situation was brought to a close quickly and safely,” said UMPI President Raymond Rice.
The University of Maine at Presque Isle wind turbine has generated more than 4.7 million kilowatt hours of emission-free power since it became operational in 2009. The turbine receives regular semi-annual inspection and maintenance in keeping with industry standards. The next planned inspection and service was scheduled for April 2018.