A Wind Turbine’s Blades Fly Off In New York City, Crushing A Billboard And Vehicle

From The Daily Caller

Daily Caller News Foundation logo

Chris White Tech Reporter

December 30, 2019 5:43 PM ET

Blades from a massive wind turbine crumpled to the ground Monday, smashing a car flat and damaging another piece of infrastructure, authorities said.

“This shouldn’t have been put up so hastily. A wind turbine should not be able to be taken down by the wind,” state Sen. Jamaal Bailey said during a press conference discussing the incident, which happened in the Bronx.

A car was smashed and a billboard was knocked down but nobody was injured, according to fire and police officials. (RELATED: Trump Mocks ‘Big Windmills’ In Pennsylvania While Cheering On His Pro-Coal Policies)

During the press conference, Bailey and Assemblyman Mike Benedetto called on the city Department of Buildings (DOB) to make “sure something like this doesn’t happen again.” Both men spoke at the site of the collapse and were struggling to project their voices over the sound of roaring wind.

DOB did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

New York has worked to transition the state away from fossil fuels and toward other forms of energy, namely solar power and wind turbines. The New York State Thruway Authority built five wind turbines in 2015 along the thruway in the western corner of the state to help in the transition.

The project was expensive, with the five windmills costing $4.8 million and another $500,000 for design expenditures. The authority believed the turbines would pay for themselves, saving as much as $420,000 annually on energy bills. Such forms of energy also have detractors.

President Donald Trump, for instance, often mocks turbines for not being as reliable as natural gas or crude oil.

“When the wind stops blowing, it doesn’t make any difference, does it? Unlike those big windmills that destroy everybody’s property values, kill all the birds,” Trump told a crowd who gathered to hear him speak at a chemical plant in August.

Trump added: “One day the environmentalists are going to tell us what’s going on with that. And then all of a sudden it stops.”


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Ron Long
December 31, 2019 2:09 am

What a great story, with many points being made. Did they figure the cost of repair/replacement in their cost estimates? Why didn’t the blades “feather” themselves when wind velocities exceeding a limit? As for President Trump, he blurts out the truth, but in a style the left doesn’t like. I was in Army Basic Training at Ft. Lewis, Washington, with a lot of overflow recruits from Ft. Dix, New Jersey. These guys were from the streets of Queens, Yonkers, etc., and they all talked like President Trump, albeit in a less educated way. Evidentally there is something about growing up on the streets of Queens that leaves a permanent attitude, just saying.

Reply to  Ron Long
December 31, 2019 4:02 am

“Street smarts – its a thing.”

Who woulda thunk it …

Story my Dad (RIP) told about NY sailors while on board the USS Essex in WW2: He recognized right-quick who the guys were that had their ‘wits’ about them and proceeded to ally with them … Dad having been born and raised on a farm near/north of Grand Rapids, MI …

Reply to  Ron Long
December 31, 2019 5:50 am

Addition to umbrella owner’s manual:
“Don’t open your umbrella in a heavy wind. That will void your warranty.”

Addition to Toyota owner’s manual:
“Don’t park your Toyota under a wind turbine. That will void you warranty.”

Addition to New York voter’s manual:
“Don’t vote for people who are like, y’know, totally stupid. That will void you warranty.”

Eric Vieira
December 31, 2019 7:59 am

Especially since “you can’t fix stupid…”

Another Paul
Reply to  Eric Vieira
December 31, 2019 2:04 pm

Especially since “you can’t fix stupid…” You CAN fix stupid, but it might involve prison time if you’re caught.

January 1, 2020 2:36 pm

Oh my goodness, that that is funny!

Juan Slayton
Reply to  Ron Long
December 31, 2019 6:18 am

Back in the 60’s I was in Basic Training at Ford Dix, with a lot of overflow recruits from Ford Ord. We westerners were there exposed to “da Queens English.” Had no difficulty construing what they said were saying….
: > )

Reply to  Ron Long
December 31, 2019 10:24 am

Absolutely nothing tRump said about wind energy is based in reality.

Reply to  Don
December 31, 2019 4:07 pm

It’s worse. The energy consumed to design, manufacture, install, maintain and administer renewables exceeds the energy they produce in their lifetime.

Reply to  Dan Pangburn
January 1, 2020 5:46 pm

Yeah,… No.

They do generate more power than construction requires, that is the whole point of renewables… If i recall correctly the return on energy invested was about 8 months for a particular model of wind turbine in sasketchewan.

The actual issues are intermittency of power, the low power density and environmental concerns. Power intermittency is not much of a problem at all unless you rely too much on one energy source in a single location without natural gas or hydro- peaker plants available on the grid (talking up to about 25-40% wind power of total). And barely anybody comes even close, except for some north european countries (there might be some other countries/states, not sure), to have windmill employment proportions that can cause intermittency issues. Thenagain, electricity trading is a thing, and the wind always blows somewhere…. Or if alternative power sources such as hydro-power, molten fluoride salt thorium fission reactors, next-gen uranium fission reactors or deuterium fusion reactors are employed this would not be an issue in the future either.
The low power density is only an issue in highly urbanised areas, in other areas its more of a disadvantage rather than a real issue. The environmental concerns definity require some more research and meanwhile careful location planning is very important. And an actual issue i do not hear many people talking about is that turbine blades arent recycleable.

Jackie Pratt
Reply to  Neil
January 3, 2020 6:01 pm


Randy Wester
Reply to  Neil
January 6, 2020 4:46 am

Turbine blades could be recycled simply by being mixd with lava in an active volcano.

Reply to  Ron Long
December 31, 2019 5:22 pm

It was a vertical axis turbine that failed in high winds. This video shows the failure:
It may not have been fitted with a brake or the brake was ineffective in the circumstances.

The component that fell on the car was the main shaft. The turbine became unbalanced once one of the blades failed, causing the shaft to break from its base bearing.

Vertical axis machines have no blade tips and peak blade velocity is lower than horizontal axis turbines. VATs are typically quieter in operation.

Reply to  RickWill
January 1, 2020 8:41 am

A classic example of rushing in where fools fear to tread.
The aerodynamics of that turbine are extremely complex due to the vertical axis and the curved turbine blades. The aerodynamics was probably pieced together from bits and pieces of tests in linear wind tunnels designed to measure airfoil performance. Imagine using a child’s wagon to as the basis for designing a Formula 1 car.

All the airflow around the turbine was turbulent. No One knows how to accurately calculate turbulent flow since it changes every millisecond and never repeats the exact same pattern.
That other problem do we know about that is very similar? And charlatans figure they have all the answers.

December 31, 2019 2:49 am

I’m doubtful that guy is holding his brolly up in “roaring winds”.

David Dibbell
Reply to  Hermit.Oldguy
December 31, 2019 3:15 am

I just watched the video. The umbrella collapses in the wind, which is obviously not “roaring.” Hilarious when you think about it.

Reply to  David Dibbell
December 31, 2019 5:46 am

They are not bending into the wind, nor was the passerby. In roaring wind, you lean into it. It may around 25 to 30 mph, but that’s definately NOT roaring.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Sheri
December 31, 2019 10:01 am

It’s roaring when you’re an umbrella.

December 31, 2019 3:03 am

Wind turbines are designed not to work when the wind contains enough energy to make them worthwhile (if they are ever worthwhile).

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
December 31, 2019 6:25 am

With all the nearby structures generating high turbulence, it pretty much shook itself apart. A wind turbine needs a Turbulence Intensity of <10% to be reasonably productive and for wear and tear reasons. Anything higher will cause excessive wear and tear and reduced output.

They never measured the wind properly there and installed sub standard equipment.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  john
December 31, 2019 7:48 am

Ah so it’s turbulent flow in high winds that cause them to need to shut down, makes sense.

David Dibbell
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 31, 2019 4:00 am

Thanks for that link. The pictures make it obvious that the Daily Caller reporting is misleading. From the shape of the blades lying on the sidewalk, it must have been a small vertical-axis unit, not “massive.” I would be very interested to see a picture of it before failure, if anyone reading this can find one and link to it.

Reply to  David Dibbell
December 31, 2019 4:26 am

re: ” I would be very interested to see a picture of it before failure, if anyone reading this can find one and link to it.”

Google Earth/Street View. Tilt ‘up’ on the view.

I’ve used it to “inspect”/view power distribution ‘infrastructure’ from the desk while involved in power line noise tracking activities …

Reply to  David Dibbell
December 31, 2019 4:49 am

re: “From the shape of the blades lying on the sidewalk, it must have been a small vertical-axis unit, not “massive.” ”

Look at the size of the structure being built behind the Sherwin Williams and 7 Eleven stores in this Google StreetView:


Reply to  _Jim
December 31, 2019 5:40 am

It must be difficult to read the billboard if it’s spinning rapidly.

Reply to  Scissor
December 31, 2019 9:21 am

Not really. You can see fairly clearly through a spinning prop – the brain will integrate the multiple moving gaps as efficiently as it does separate movie frames in sequence.

John Endicott
Reply to  Scissor
December 31, 2019 10:58 am

Richard, I could be wrong but I think Scissor was implying the billboard itself is what was “spinning rapidly”. And indeed, it would be hard to read such a billboard set up. Whereas, what you describe, A billboard behind a spinning prop, would be a readable billboard depending on what size and how fast the blades were spinning. However, as neither setup is what was going on here, the point it moot.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  _Jim
December 31, 2019 1:04 pm

It is one of this type:

There is a reason there are not many of them.

The big tube appears to have been used to get the blades above nearby streets and buildings.
I wonder who made money on this turkey — no offense intended to real turkeys, they are smarter than this.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  _Jim
December 31, 2019 4:54 pm

“Look at the size of the structure being built behind the Sherwin Williams and 7 Eleven stores in this Google StreetView:”

Not behind, it’s part of the building. The overhead view doesn’t even show it yet, older image. The bumpout where it says “Sherwin Williams Paint” is where the tower comes up.

So it was a helical design, I guess.

Reply to  Latitude
December 31, 2019 5:58 am

It’s a vertical turbine, not a propeller type. I guess if it looks like an egg-beater, it MUST be safe, right?

David Dibbell
Reply to  David Dibbell
December 31, 2019 6:20 am

Now that there is video and more pictures, I see the support tower is indeed “massive”. The vertical-axis turbine itself, not so much. But still its vertical axle appears to be what crushed the car. I would guess this turbine might have been capable of 100 kW or so.

John Endicott
Reply to  David Dibbell
December 31, 2019 6:38 am

David, it was a vertical type, not a propeller type. The “pipe” that crushed the car is quite massive. The pieces of blades you see in the picture isn’t the entirety of the blades – they shattered into many small pieces and scattered through out the area, so it’s not just those two pieces (another photo I saw of the crushed car, shows another piece of the blades near the car, which would be in addition to those two pieces across the street). watch the video of the turbines collapse linked elsewhere in this thread.

John Endicott
Reply to  John Endicott
December 31, 2019 12:45 pm

Have seen more photos and videos, It looks like there are two pieces of blade on the ground near the end of the “pipe” (that crushed the car) that’s pointing towards the ground (which I believe was actually the “top” part of the pipe) and the two piece that are across the street probably flew off the end of the “pipe” that’s sticking up in the air (which looks to be the “bottom” part of the “pipe”) either from the impact with the billboard or from the crash into the car (when you see the “pipe” topple off the top of the tower in the video, there’s clearly 4 pieces – two at each end – still attached)

mike the morlock
Reply to  David Dibbell
December 31, 2019 7:56 am

A thought look at the rust. This is a new wind turbine?


Robert W Turner
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 31, 2019 7:49 am

Looks like they got extremely lucky that it happened when it did. Imagine if it happened next week when more people are back to business as usual.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 31, 2019 9:00 am

From Bob Tisdale’s link:
“It sounded like a cling and then a thud — like a bing, and then boom,” said CJ Smith, 23, who heard the turbine come down as he headed to his job at a nearby Starbucks.

Badabing, badaboom.

Leo Smith
December 31, 2019 3:28 am

Turbines are supposed to feather and brake to avoid overspeed.

Sometimes they dont.

No other industry is allowed to have the public exposed to rotating machinery with blade tips approaching a reasonable fraction of the speed of sound.

Reply to  Leo Smith
December 31, 2019 5:48 am

re: “Turbines are supposed to feather ”

Now the Q is raised: How does one ‘feather’ a vertical (Vertical axis wind turbine) windmill?


Crispin in Waterloo but really in Goleta
Reply to  _Jim
December 31, 2019 6:26 am

There is a speed control mechanism which is a flat plate mounted in the centre of the vertical height of equal blade. When the centrepital acceleration exceeds a predetermined value the plate flips out 90 degrees providing a massive drag on the blade’s movement through the air. This effectively limits the rotational speed even as the wind speed increases.

The function of the device is mechanical and does not need actuation by a controller or operator.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Goleta
December 31, 2019 10:18 am

A modern version of this old classic?

Jeff Id
Reply to  beng135
January 1, 2020 4:26 pm

They put those things in jet engines.

At least they used to.

Curious George
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Goleta
December 31, 2019 1:51 pm

This looks like a recipe for disaster, when two blades don’t brake at exactly the same moment.

Randy Wester
Reply to  _Jim
January 6, 2020 4:57 am

How do you feather a VAWT? You put a billboard on top and make the structure weak enough that the billboard can push it over.

Reply to  Randy Wester
January 6, 2020 5:43 am

re: “How do you feather a VAWT? You put a billboard on top and make the structure weak enough that the billboard can push it over.”

Addressing a nonexistent, “straw man” case; the physical configuration was not like anything you envision (maybe you know this?)

The permit for a billboard atop that tall structure was denied; this was before the vert wind turbine was put in place.

Reply to  Leo Smith
December 31, 2019 12:19 pm

Verticle axis wind turbine cannot feather like horizontal axis wind turbines. and there are no wing tips in this design.

But the biggest problem is that you should never place a wind turbine in the city. winds are too turbulent which leads to increased loads and failures in a short time.

December 31, 2019 3:30 am

Five wind generators, to help transition from fossil fuels, FIVE which cost 4.8 million plus 500,000 for ” design expenditures” 😐

I hope the greens alone paid for all of it…

John Endicott
Reply to  Sunny
December 31, 2019 5:06 am

You know they didn’t. It was all the little people (IE taxpayers) who got stuck with the bill.

Reply to  John Endicott
December 31, 2019 7:44 am

The greens were the ones MAKING money from this scam.

David Gerdes
Reply to  Sunny
December 31, 2019 6:07 am

With the Marxist leftist greens, it’s always someone else who is responsible for
climate change. They believe we can lower CO2 emissions by adopting
cultural Marxism .
This includes endorsing political correctness, Feminism, overcoming white male oppression, saving the planet, and rooting out Fascism. Then there’s those pesky Christians.
Our fight isn’t against wind turbines, it’s against cultural Marxism and it’s doctrine.
The solar panels and wind turbines are just a side show.

Reply to  David Gerdes
January 2, 2020 3:47 pm

I would add that one should make a key distinction one often does in disasters of much greater import. Namely what led to the event. Not just the proximate cause (a loose bolt, too much vibration, something along those lines).

The root cause may also be relevant. I suggest there is one, and it is the little-responsibility socialist culture from which it sprung: NYC culture. re your post, NYC is one of the world leaders in Cultural Marxism.

December 31, 2019 3:39 am

This shouldn’t have been put up – article. The sentence should stop right there, perhaps with “at all” added to it.

Nothing like an ostentatious display of bad planning and stupidity to let everyone know that your brains (if you have them) are screwed in backward. I can just picture those turbine blades coming undone and flying off into wherever in the middle of rush hour traffic, or even better, spinning their way right into Central Park at the noon hour when there are people out sunning themselves. Priceless.

Happy New Year, wherever you are!!!

Ed Zuiderwijk
December 31, 2019 3:43 am

“A wind turbine should not be able to be taken down by the wind,” state Sen. Jamaal Bailey.

Wow! Isn’t he right on the ball?

December 31, 2019 3:45 am

Judging from the photo in the link that follows, the blades look awfully flimsy (and small). Can’t tell whether the structure lying on the car is the stem of a blade or part of the tower, but, regardless, looks like a lot of rust for something that is “new,” and the bolt-holes also look small for what should have fit considerably larger bolts. Maybe this thing was actually a large pinwheel for a carnival.


Patrick MJD
Reply to  Nik
December 31, 2019 4:20 am

It’s part of the billboard.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
December 31, 2019 4:30 am

Hmmmm … raises the question: Was the billboard support structure/pole assembly sufficient for the addition of, the use of, a wind turbine atop it? Would the structure have been rated for additional torsion, and vibration due to a wind turbine atop it?

Haven’t look yet, did the pole fail, bending over at the base due to a high ‘bending moment’? Or, did the concrete base tilt/uproot in the soil?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  _Jim
December 31, 2019 5:17 am

The object that hit the car is quite massive, and very corroded. The “A” pillar on the Toyota (Camry?) is quite substantial and took quite a hit as well as the engine and front suspension. If it fell on the roof anyone inside would be seriously injured or even dead.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
December 31, 2019 5:44 am

Yup. See that now. Too bad the writing in the articles aren’t a little clearer on all this … it took watching the video for it to all make sense.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
December 31, 2019 4:46 am

re: “It’s part of the billboard.”

This image from Google Street View shows a structure behind the Sherwin Williams store and 7-Eleven store, the billboard is out front. Looks like only the base has been built in this Google Street View image (400 Baychester Ave.):


Jeff Alberts
Reply to  _Jim
January 1, 2020 9:54 am

No the turbine was part of the building more in the front than the back. The bumpout with the “Sherwin Williams” sign is where the turbine support column comes out of the building. Move around the street view some more and you’ll see that.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 1, 2020 10:35 am

Re: “No the turbine was part of the building more in the front than the back.”

TAKE a closer look; its built INTO the facade of the building, in front. Unfortunately, I made that post and could not correct it later.

An odd design I have never seen elsewhere. Google Earth/Streetview was helpful in determining just where the LARGE structure was located; the STORIES and accounts posted made it appear as if the structure was to the rear of the building.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 3, 2020 4:34 pm

“TAKE a closer look; its built INTO the facade of the building, in front. Unfortunately, I made that post and could not correct it later.”

That’s what I said.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 3, 2020 5:20 pm

BTW, Jeff, take note, I was the first to ‘score’ a link to Google Streetview of that area.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
December 31, 2019 5:20 am
Reply to  Latitude
December 31, 2019 5:33 am

re: “nope it’s part of the windmill….you can see it fall”

Yup. Finally got the video to load.

Can finally see that it’s a vertical windmill – the large black ‘pipe’ is from the top of that very LARGE substantial tower … the ‘pipe’ fell on the car.

Too bad the articles on this can’t be more CLEAR as to specifics from the outset.

Reply to  Latitude
December 31, 2019 6:03 am

In reading the Daily Mail article, it looks like this was a privately own windmill, and may not have had the proper permits to be erected. Originally the owner of the large base pillar had plans to place a large electronic billboard but was denied permits for it, so it looks like they tried to utilize the base pillar for other income.
“he was unable to find building permits for the structure and believes that the property owner was denied a NYC Department of Buildings permit for a third billboard and decided to install a wind turbine instead.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if the left spins this to portray any privately owned project as ‘evil’ because the owners will just cut costs to increase profits. The only way to move forward will be pure government control of all of these type of projects, no matter how expensive the cost may be. It’ll be for your own good.

Reply to  MikeH
December 31, 2019 7:01 am

re: “I wouldn’t be surprised if the left spins this to portray any privately owned project as ‘evil’”

Put it back on them; tell them to look at the caliber of the companies getting into the wind business designed to ride the ‘green eco-train’, paid for in part by tax monies the govt pays out in subsidies …

Reply to  MikeH
December 31, 2019 10:28 am

Unlike normal business, when virtue-signalling (pinwheel in this instance), permits/laws magically get approved/bypassed immediately. Just like when pinwheels get away w/killing eagles, etc, etc.

Geo Rubik
Reply to  Latitude
December 31, 2019 9:00 am

Nope, the two towers are (were) not connected. Check all the photos on twitter.

John Endicott
Reply to  Geo Rubik
December 31, 2019 10:48 am

Nope. Check the videos already posted in this thread. You can see the “blades” shatter and the “pole” that the “blades” rotate around topple and fall, hitting the billboard on the way down towards the cars.

and at the New York Post
Photo 1 (the smashed car with a pole on top of it) is labeled “The car that was smashed by a piece of the turbine
Photo 4 shows us where the billboard that crashed is (in the parking lot of the green and white building with the “TD” logo) in relation to the turbine pole that is on the car.

Geo Rubik
Reply to  Geo Rubik
December 31, 2019 3:43 pm

John Endicot The billboard was not attached to the turbine, just in it’s path of destruction.

John Endicott
Reply to  Geo Rubik
January 1, 2020 11:12 am

Geo Agreed that billboard is a separate structure from the turbine and that it was damaged by the falling turbine “pipe”, the post your response was made to was talking about the falling “pipe” being part of turbine not part of the billboard as a previous poster suggested. No one, as far as I can see in the chain of replies, was claiming the two structures were physically connected, so you are arguing against something no one was claiming.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Latitude
January 1, 2020 3:46 am

My comment was based on the fact there is a quite a lot of visible corrosion for a newly installed steel structure that had fallen on the car. I figured the turbine had knocked something off the billboard which would have been older. Either way, it all seems rather dodgy based on the various reports. Thankfully no-one was in that car.

John Endicott
Reply to  Nik
December 31, 2019 6:45 am

Judging from the photo in the link that follows, the blades look awfully flimsy (and small).

Those are only pieces of the blades. It was a vertical-type turbine not a propeller type (so looked more like an egg-beater rather than the stereotypical windmill). there’s video elsewhere in the thread that shows the turbine breaking apart, and you can see the “blades” shatter into smaller pieces and then the “pipe” topple and fall.

Have to agree with you that it does look awfully rusty for a “new” structure.

December 31, 2019 3:48 am

re: “New York has worked to transition the state away from fossil fuels and toward other forms of energy”

Political, top-down ego/eco-driven policy w/o due regard and consideration to engineering (including human factors); THAT always “ends well.”

December 31, 2019 4:01 am

Wind ‘turbines’ do not ‘save the planet’ but do kill lots of birds and bats.

December 31, 2019 4:07 am

Once again I’d point out if you look at the number of wind turbines installed worldwide, then check the number of annual problems like this one, it is a vanishingly small proportion.

Then if you look at the increasing annual percentage of electricity from wind in places like the UK…

In the Real World
Reply to  griff
December 31, 2019 9:52 am

Usual rubbish from Griff .
Wind generation gets priority over conventional generation in the UK , & still only manages 18% of the total . Despite all of the lies by the green loonies .
And offshore wind costs over 4 times per Mwh what a gas power station produces it at .

Reply to  griff
December 31, 2019 9:56 am

So Griff you are okay with these things being erected in built-up populated areas? Would you have your family living in the strike zone?
I’ll bet the NY rats would love these things, fresh meat falling from the sky!

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  griff
December 31, 2019 10:31 am

Perhaps you won’t object when they site one of them at the end of your street, griff. Don’t worry, you’ll soon get used to the noise..

John Endicott
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
December 31, 2019 11:34 am

And hey, think of all the money you can save, griff, if you get up early to collect a few fresh bird carcuses each morning to cook for lunch and/or diner. You’ll be doing your community a favor (cleaning up the mess the turbine makes) and saving money. win-win.

Reply to  griff
January 1, 2020 8:50 am

Griff- If you look at the number of wind turbines installed worldwide you can easily calculate that the maintainence and removal costs are going to be more than the value of all the electricity produced.
Not to mention that much of the refuse cannot be recycled.

David Dibbell
December 31, 2019 4:50 am

Wow. There is a video in the Daily Mail report showing the vertical-axis turbine failing. It is very fortunate there were no injuries or deaths.


Patrick MJD
Reply to  David Dibbell
December 31, 2019 5:48 am

WOW! That’s quite a turbine.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
December 31, 2019 6:57 am

Wonder what the cost was for liability insurance on that, and what kind of due diligence the underwriter did to price the policy.

December 31, 2019 4:54 am

The project was expensive, with the five windmills costing $4.8 million and another $500,000 for design expenditures. The authority believed the turbines would pay for themselves, saving as much as $420,000 annually on energy bills.

I’m not an investor but a quick google makes me think that wasn’t a great investment at around 8% return. link That would be best case.

However, the project did not go as planned. Of the five turbines that are dotted across the thruway from Eden, New York to the Pennsylvania state line, four aren’t even spinning.

“They are currently offline waiting for replacement parts and/or maintenance,” thruway authority spokeswoman Jennifer Givner said, according to Buffalo News. “We’re working with the manufacturer to get replacement parts.”

Between October 2017 and January 2018, all the turbines except for one were taken offline. The issue appears to stem from inoperable parts made from Vergnet, a French renewable energy company that declared itself insolvent a year ago. link

Oopsie. So, what’s the strategy here? Buy cheap, poorly engineered, poorly manufactured crap and pray? I’m also guessing they over estimated the amount of electricity they were going to save.

old construction worker
Reply to  commieBob
December 31, 2019 6:17 am

So much for the projected “Pay Back”. And, you wonder why investment bankers will not invest without government subsidies.

Rich Davis
Reply to  commieBob
December 31, 2019 7:00 am

$5.3 million up front, $0.42 million/yr for 15 years
To the typical innumerate eco-loon, that means you will make $1 million on a $5.3 million investment, almost 20%!

All you need to do is go borrow $5.3 million dollars at 0% interest for 15 years, and for sure you’ll be rich. Let me know where I can do that please.

At a ridiculously low 2.25% discount rate, and assuming that the $420k/yr is correct, you will make exactly NOTHING. At a more realistic 6% discount rate, you are losing $1.22 million.

Now consider realistic capacity factors of an aging turbine. Do you suppose that it puts out the same reliable power for 15 years? What about maintenance costs?

But I know, we’re saving the PLANET for a totally reasonable cost. Five turbines should cover all of New York. Now what about New Jersey? Probably need one or two more.

John Endicott
Reply to  Rich Davis
December 31, 2019 7:17 am

Do you suppose that it puts out the same reliable power for 15 years?

Do you suppose is puts out reliable power, ever? There’s a reason wind and solar are referred to as unreliables.

Patrick MJD
December 31, 2019 5:01 am

Way OT however, happy new year everyone!

December 31, 2019 5:56 am

A lot of the savings are from the pockets of utility customers, who have to subsidize the purchase and
pay for higher electric rates due to the inability of the turbines to produce on demand.

David Dibbell
December 31, 2019 5:56 am

Here is another link to a news report with video of the actual failure and of the aftermath.

Reply to  David Dibbell
December 31, 2019 7:25 am

This video proves that the failure of the vertical wind turbine has nothing to do with the failure of the advertising tower, you can clearly see the turbine fall off the tower, but you DO NOT see the tower falling afterwards. The images show a car crushed by an advertising tower not a wind turbine.

Reply to  Phil
December 31, 2019 7:28 am

re: ” The images show a car crushed by an advertising tower not a wind turbine.”


Go watch the video and get back with us.

Reply to  _Jim
December 31, 2019 8:58 am

The wind turbine was made of white lightweight materials, that pole is black and substantially made, it’s too heavy to be part of the wind turbine as well as the wrong colour.

John Endicott
Reply to  _Jim
January 2, 2020 7:34 am

Phil, watch the video. The “white lightweight materials” is the “blade” part of the turbine (you can actually see a couple of pieces of that material near one end of the pole in some of the pictures of the car). That stuff shattered before the pole fell. The black “substantially made” pole is what those “white lightweight materials” rotated around (in an “egg beater” type design), you can see it fall, with some pieces of the white stuff still attached, in the video. Again *watch the video* and see for yourself, because you are only making yourself look like a fool when you say stuff that is easily disproved by simply watching the video of the turbines collapse and fall.

John Endicott
Reply to  Phil
December 31, 2019 9:35 am

Phil, watch the video and pay attention. you can clearly see the “blades” shatter and the turbine fall off the tower and drop towards the car and at 31 sec you can see part of the “blade” at one end of the “pole” that crushed the car. that’s not an advertising tower on that car.

Reply to  John Endicott
December 31, 2019 9:48 am

It is clear from the pictures taken at the scene https://twitter.com/coopcitytimes?s=20
that the pole on the ground is not part of the turbine, the actual turbine is scattered in many small pieces around the area, the damage was done by the collapse of the advertising hording which appears to have acted like a sail and broke free of its mountings.

Reply to  Phil
December 31, 2019 9:58 am

re: ” … he pole on the ground is ..”

Is PART of the ‘steeple’ around which the vertical blades of the turbine turned. It’s CLEARLY SEEN coming off the TOP of the tower IN THE VIDEO.

Look, moran [sic], otherwise POINT OUT where the central mast or ‘steeple’ ended up then.

John Endicott
Reply to  Phil
December 31, 2019 10:11 am

Phil, it’s clear you didn’t watch the video (or didn’t understand what you were watching). You can clearly see 1) the “blades” shatter into pieces followed by 2) the central “mast” (the part of the turbine that the “blades” rotated around) topple over and fall (you can even see a few pieces of the blades still rotating as the “mast” falls) and 3) that the falling “mast” is falling towards where there are cars below.

John Endicott
Reply to  Phil
December 31, 2019 11:24 am

Or, to put it another way, look at the 4th photo from the New York post
and compare with the google street view _Jim posted elsewhere in this thread. You can clearly see what part of the Billboard broke off and where it landed (in the TD parking lot) and the “pipe” on the car is at the wrong angle and wrong side of the billboard to have come from it but at exactly the right spot from something that fell from where the turbine was after bouncing off the Billboard (which you can somewhat see happen in the video David posted at around the 29/30 sec mark).

But if, as you insist, the pipe is from the billboard then where did the pipe (as seen in the video) that toppled off the top (after the blades shattered) go? You know, the one that hit the billboard (again, as seen in the video), causing one of it’s three side to break off? Well, according to the label on the first photo at the new York post link, it ended up right on top of the car as we’ve been saying all along.

Curious George
Reply to  David Dibbell
December 31, 2019 7:55 am

It was a really small wind turbine. Don’t get discouraged, install a really powerful one.

Reply to  Curious George
December 31, 2019 8:00 am

re: “It was a really small wind turbine.”

LOOK at what the central mast (ABOUT which the vertical egg-beater blades rotated), the “steeple” as the one guy who videoed the collapse called it, FALL and crush that car (PLUS took down part of that odd-shaped billboard.)

Really small??

Granted … the ~ 30 ft piece fell from about 250 ft up.

December 31, 2019 6:14 am

Small propellor turbines sold to homeowners WILL and DO come apart in wind. A neighbor down by our cabin had had TWO small turbines torn apart by wind. It’s a very windy area, but it’s a WIND turbine. There are so many lies and so much propaganda.

I do wonder why all turbines are not sold with the “Hunter/gatherer’s guide to Eating”, since Energy from Weather is just a return to the hunter/gatherers of centuries ago. If you’re going to use weather for lights, you should be gathering berries and killing wild game for your dinner table. We can even get a HUGE government subsidy for you, if our lobbyists phrase this right. Imagine, you can work 10 hours a week and pay for your stick cabin, the government will give you the turbine so free electricity and all your food is free. Heck, we can probably get the government to pay for a well and solar pump. A paradise on earth, people.

December 31, 2019 6:27 am

Pics and comments here …

December 31, 2019 6:46 am

So it was Gone With The Wind.

Better send for Blade Runner.

Reply to  leitmotif
December 31, 2019 8:19 am

Almost “groaners”.
But worthwhile.

Reply to  Bob Hoye
December 31, 2019 6:41 pm

I’m not really a fan of wind turbines.

Flight Level
December 31, 2019 6:58 am

“A wind turbine should not be able to be taken down by the wind, state Sen. Jamaal Bailey said”

Really ? (*palmface*)

Senator, please excuse the silly question, have you ever flown something, be it a paper plane ?

Do you realize you’re referring to wind and the majestic powers of weather ? Wind. That can surge out of nowhere, turn you no matter how “heavy” like a pancake and subsequently slam you to ground in less than a heartbeat?

Or take you up at vertical speed rates in excess of 100MPH and once on the top rip apart every single rivet?

Met a haggard crew babbling “the wings stood on” ?

Senator, learn about wind before trying to domesticate it and never disrespect even the lightest gentle breeze.

HD Hoese
December 31, 2019 7:02 am

Was it like this?

“The two-blade, downwind-facing design was modeled after palm trees to withstand storms and high winds.”
They need a course in botany, even oceanography.

Reply to  HD Hoese
December 31, 2019 1:14 pm

No like this:


It is a 50 year old design that was abandoned by all the major manufactures about 40 years ago. No major wind farms today use this type of turbine.

Coach Springer
December 31, 2019 7:03 am

Unintended consequences of reckless virtue signaling. At best.

John Endicott
Reply to  Coach Springer
December 31, 2019 7:15 am

Or an attempt to grab some of the climate cash gravy train gone horribly wrong. Sounds like the owner could not do what he initially wanted with the property and saw cashing in on “green” wind energy subsidies as an alternative money stream for it instead.

Bill Powers
December 31, 2019 7:21 am

Brother Bureaucrats “Dumb” and “Dumber” proclaimed today that “Physics should not be allowed to rule our cities” We demand this on behalf of the peoples of New Yawk” [Palm plant face now]

December 31, 2019 7:53 am

A sight for sore eyes. Turbine areas should be people free areas even for street smart people.

December 31, 2019 8:16 am

One of the links stated that the monster had been in operation for only two weeks.

Reply to  Bob Hoye
December 31, 2019 8:20 am

re: “One of the links stated that the monster had been in operation for only two weeks.”

The Google Street View did not show a turbine from – a year or so back either, so there is that too.

Half the of the Big Tower was obvious and visible, but nothing atop it.

John Endicott
Reply to  Bob Hoye
December 31, 2019 10:53 am

Yeah, one article I read said it started operation on Dec 17th.

December 31, 2019 8:52 am

The design of the wind turbine reminded of a smaller one located outside the former offices of Quantum Energy Storage in Poway, Ca. They put up the turbine to draw the eye of passers by to their business sign. I think it might have actually generated some power, once upon a time. Quantum Energy Storage went out of business about a year after they had an ‘accident’ with one of their energy storage systems. Seems an 11 ton flywheel, spinning at 6,000 rpm got loose of it’s mounting and, well, it’s a minor miracle there were no deaths.

And, yes, when they went out of business the wind turbine was abandoned and is still there. I drive past it almost every day.



December 31, 2019 8:55 am

Another shoot, ready, aim from the SJW and Enviro freaks. Thankfully no one was injured. This time.

December 31, 2019 10:40 am

Surely this can be linked to gun rights and gun laws

John Endicott
Reply to  ResourceGuy
December 31, 2019 11:07 am

It’s all Trumps Fault. Shifty Shiff says he has proof that Trump colluded with Russians to make the turbine collapse.

December 31, 2019 10:41 am

The gangs of NY and wind turbine construction is a scary thought.

December 31, 2019 11:01 am

Sited improperly–missed City Hall.

Reply to  Eric
December 31, 2019 12:26 pm


Dan Lyons
December 31, 2019 12:02 pm

Hardly massive. The truly “masive” wind turbines have blades over 100 feet long and put out 5 plus megawatts of power. This was barely a “mid sized” turbine. Kills me how this is being made into a big story about the failure of alternative energy. The design of this turbine is the culprit here. There are thousands of turbines in operation in far more volatile regions that are doing just fine thank you and are not monuments to liberal ideals they are effective and cost efficient sources of energy and have proven their economic payback in reasonable time frames. Wind power isn’t going away and can only improve over time. The incessant whining about it from some in the name of pitting right against left is growing tiresome and is frankly immature, short sighted and saddening.

Reply to  Dan Lyons
December 31, 2019 4:25 pm

Simple arithmetic demonstrates windmills are a loser.
5 mW wind turbine, avg output 1/3 nameplate, 20 yr life, electricity @ wholesale 3 cents per kwh https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=34552 produces $8.8E6.

Installed cost @ $1.61E6/mW = $8.05E6. https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2018/08/f54/2017_wind_technologies_market_report_8.15.18.v2.pdf
Operation & maintenance @ $210,000/yr = $4.2E6 http://www.newenergyupdate.com/wind-energy-update/us-wind-om-costs-estimated-48000mw-falling-costs-create-new-industrial-uses-iea
Total cost = $12.2E6

Add the cost of energy storage facility and energy availability loss during storage/retrieval, or initial and maintenance cost of standby CCGT for low wind periods.
Solar voltaic and solar thermal are even worse with special concern for disposal and/or recycling at end-of-life (about 15 yr for PV).

Combined cycle gas turbine $614/kw ($0.6E6/mW) installed cost. https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=31912

The dollar relation is a proxy for energy relation (the earth does not charge). Bottom line, the energy consumed to design, manufacture, install, maintain and administer renewables exceeds the energy they produce in their lifetime.

Without the energy provided by other sources renewables could not exist.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Dan Pangburn
January 1, 2020 1:47 am

It really doesn’t matter what the nameplate output is because a wind turbine can only ever convert ~59% of the kinetic energy in the source wind to useful power output from the turbine, and that is in ideal conditions too. Betz law I think it is.

December 31, 2019 12:51 pm

Has anyone blamed climate change for these obviously unprecedented wind speeds yet?

Joel O'Bryan
December 31, 2019 12:52 pm

They will have to now remove the others as well. The NY city attorneys and state official wll now realize there is too much of a liability to let them remain, waiting to fall and kill someone the next time.

Any “savings” the city and developers thought they might have gotten from a few megawatt-hours of electricity is now a huge financial loss for all involved.
Investment losses in renewable energy schemes are a civic “good”, as it will help end the scam on electricity rate payers and taxpayers providing tax credits for rich people.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
January 1, 2020 10:56 am

They will have to now remove the others as well.

What others?

John Endicott
Reply to  Phil.
January 1, 2020 11:22 am

While this was a lone (unauthorized?) wind turbine on private property, just the other year New York City council was considering a bill to standardize roof-top wind turbine installation in the city.

Don’t know if the bill passed or not, but it does rather suggest that there are other wind turbine projects within the city (either already existing or being planned).

December 31, 2019 2:24 pm

I like all these people
– crying and shouting about a wind turbine crashing and damaging a few things around it,
– keeping so terribly silent about 160,000 Japanese people who had to leave their homes in 2011 in the near of Fukushima Daiichi because of the nuclear contamination of the land around it.


And no, no: don’t tell me it was due to the tsunami, that is too simple.

If the nuclear industry would be made responsible for all direct and indirect damages it causes, there wouldn’t be even one nuclear plant in activity.

J.-P. D.

Reply to  Bindidon
December 31, 2019 4:35 pm

Nuclear is the alltime safest way to generate electricity:


Energy Source Death Rate (deaths per TWh) CORRECTED

Coal (elect, heat,cook –world avg) 100 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
Coal electricity – world avg 60 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
Coal (elect,heat,cook)– China 170
Coal electricity- China 90
Coal – USA 15
Oil 36 (36% of world energy)
Natural Gas 4 (21% of world energy)
Biofuel/Biomass 12
Peat 12
Solar (rooftop) 0.44 (0.2% of world energy for all solar)
Wind 0.15 (1.6% of world energy)
Hydro 0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
Hydro – world including Banqiao) 1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
Nuclear 0.04 (5.9% of world energy)

Reply to  Bindidon
December 31, 2019 4:44 pm

Communism killed over 100 million people in the C20th, yet here you are, pretending you care about the Japanese.

Reply to  Bindidon
January 1, 2020 8:35 am

As I had anticipated: two completely useless, redundant answers.

Reply to  Bindidon
January 1, 2020 8:39 am

re: “As I had anticipated: two completely useless, redundant answers.”

What was the overall cost/benefit over time? The amount of energy produced over the time in service versus all cost for each respective case?

Reply to  _Jim
January 1, 2020 2:09 pm


Incredible but true: not only one more completely useless, redundant answer.
In addition, the expression of brute force cynism.

Do you know what you and all other commenters thinking / writing like you should experience?

To be sent in that region for five years as a social worker, paid say maximally about 1,000 US$ a month, and whose job would be to help in the decontamination of the region, at your own risk and peril of course!

J.-P. D.

Reply to  Bindidon
January 1, 2020 3:32 pm


“Incredible but true: not only one more completely useless, redundant answer.
In addition, the expression of brute force cynism.

Do you know what …”

Non-responsive to my inquiry; we apparently can’t have an adult conversation, so, to that end, have a good day.

John Endicott
Reply to  Bindidon
January 2, 2020 5:55 am

Make useless posts get “useless” replies. No reply would be “good enough” for you because you are trolling with an “equivalency fallacy”. And everyone here sees right though it, so the only one you are “fooling” is yourself.

This turbine collapsed under *normal* operating conditions (it had only been in operation for a matter of days). The problem was with the turbine itself and it’s purely down to luck that no one was injured or killed by either the falling turbine or by the billboard it knocked down.

Fukishima’s failure was a result of failure to properly plan for an known extreme condition (A tsunami generating a wave higher than the sea wall was designed to handle combined with improper placement of the emergency backup generator) and thus the problem wasn’t with the nuclear generator itself (which had reliably been in operation for *decades* not *days*). Had the owners of Fukishima heeded the reports that the sea wall needed to be higher, and/or had they placed the backup generator on higher ground or otherwise flood proofed the backup generator – then there would have been no problem).

And despite the very rare accident like Fukishima, the safety record of nuclear still remains the best of all forms of energy generation the world over bar none. And certainly the best for providing reliable energy that does not produce CO2 emissions (for those who claim to be concerned about CO2 emissions).

Reply to  Bindidon
January 1, 2020 9:23 am

More recently highschool students in the Fukushima Prefecture started a worldwide radiation dosimetry test with other highschool students. They used dosimeters like the ones used in industry.
The results “High school students in Fukushima [Prefecture] do not suffer from significantly higher levels of radiation”

It’s uncommon knowledge, but EVERYONE is exposed to daily background radiation. In some places in the Caucusus(Georgia, Armenia, etc. east of the Black Sea.) and limited other areas people have been living for many centuries with background radiation up to 10X average and similar to the radiation after the atom bombs fell on Japan. They generally live long, busy lives with no unusual radiation caused diseases.

The only wide spread nasty effects of radiation come from radon gas leaking into homes and buildings due to underground rock formations or poorly formulated concrete. It can increase the incidence of radiation caused cancers, but can easily be mitigate with a cheap under the foundation ventilation system.

RADIATION is a bogeyman that is thrown around for emotional effect, not to communicate effective scientific knowledge.

Reply to  Philo
January 1, 2020 9:50 am

re: “RADIATION is a bogeyman that is thrown around for emotional effect”

One wonders if Bindidon has ever seen a (Wilson) cloud chamber in operation? A nearly constant display of GCRs are seen at sea level, and even MORE at flight levels of 30k feet.

Reply to  Bindidon
January 1, 2020 5:13 pm

The final cause of the failure at Fukushima was placing the emergency backup generators at too low an elevation, or alternatively not making the backup generator flood proof.

Dennis G. Sandberg
December 31, 2019 5:18 pm

So what happens next. The failed turbine has demonstrated a highly probable potential for a similar event at the other four turbines. Should the failed turbine be replaced? If so, what design changes should be made? Should these design changes be incorporated into the other turbines? My position is all windmills are worth less than nothing junk and should all be taken down and landfilled. Wouldn’t that be the best course for at least these egg beaters? The only thing we know for sure is we’ll never hear about this again. Doesn’t fit the save the planet agenda so ignore it.

December 31, 2019 7:13 pm

It gets more interesting when I was holidaying for a couple of days at Edithburgh in South Australia and you can’t help noticing the 55 wind turbines of the Wattle Point wind farm and they’re all turning on the 29th Dec and seemingly so on the next morning of the 30th-
Now grab these BoM weather readings for the 30th Dec at Edithburgh-
and you can see the percentage of installed capacity of Wattle Point wind farm here if you quickly deselect all States bar SA and then uncheck the remaining wind farms except WPWF –
(do check out MTMILLAR in SA too for a head scratch although Starfish Hill STARHLWF on the opposite side of the Gulf has some correlation with Wattle Point)

Yes that’s what I noticed travelling back from Troubridge Point past the wind farm between 11.30AM and noon as all the turbines shut down with my car’s outside temp reading showing between 40-41 deg Centigrade.
Seems you can buy wind turbines that run OK up to 40C but the monitoring software for the bearings and gearboxes will throttle them to protect them presumably when the wind is up around 47km/hr and they’re turning at their max output and the ambient temp is at or near 40C which it was because there was a really hot dust storm blowing at the time-
“One of the tests SCADA Miner runs looks for constraints in wind turbine output occurring due to high temperature components. When purchasing a wind turbine, the power curve is guaranteed up to a certain ambient temperature (often 40°C). Beyond this temperature, the operating temperature of some components monitored by the wind turbine’s control system may exceed safe levels and initiate a temperature-induced constraint on the wind turbine.”
Presumably that’s a hard question our energy regulator is asking of these unreliables after the Victorian hot spell-

Steve Richards
January 1, 2020 2:13 am

It is madness to specify wind turbine generators with a low max temperature for operation in a hot country!

Thank goodness they spend other peoples money on these things.


Steven F
January 1, 2020 4:43 pm

According to this news report:

the owner may have not had proper permits for the wind turbine.

The wind turbine had been a controversial feature in the neighborhood. The community was already reportedly up in arms about the illuminated billboard, and some believe, according to the Bronx Times, that after the “property’s owner was denied a NYC Department of Buildings permit for a third billboard, he decided to install a wind turbine instead.” (The third LED billboard would have been visible to Co-op City residents.)
Critics said the turbine was installed too quickly, and community board members and elected officials had been looking into whether there was proper permitting involved. News 12 reported earlier this month, “It is believed that because a theme park called Freedomland used to operate on the property years ago, the zoning laws were never changed.” (Freedomland was built in 1960 and went bankrupt in 1964.)

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