DILLER — Officials are investigating the cause of a wind turbine tower's collapse in the Steele Flats Wind Farm in southeastern Nebraska.
The turbine had been standing just southwest of Diller and was part of the $138 million wind farm, developed by Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources. The wind farm includes 32 wind turbines in southeast Jefferson County and 12 more in southwest Gage County.
NextEra Energy spokesman Bryan Garner says the company is investigating the cause of the collapse.
Garner says the turbine, which is one mile north of Nebraska 8 and a half mile west of Nebraska 103, went offline shortly before 5 a.m. Tuesday. He says there's no evidence of sabotage and the manufacturer will be able to help the company look into the cause of the failure.
NextEra Energy officials don't suspect weather was a factor, Garner told the Beatrice Daily Sun.
The company plans to rebuild the turbine after completing its investigation, the Sun reported.
News reports indicate wind turbines collapse regularly in the U.S. and elsewhere. One county in eastern Michigan had two topple in one week last year.
Strong winds have toppled some turbines in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Canada this year, according to media reports.
Ethan Thorp, 27, of Steele City, went out to see the downed wind turbine near Diller around 9 a.m. after fielding calls about it from his neighbors and family.
"I couldn’t believe it just folded over like a tin can, like a pop can," Thorp said. "It was crazy."
NextEra erected the 422-foot tall wind turbines in that area in 2013. News of the collapse of one of the towers outside of Diller surprised Thorp because they haven't been there that long, he said.
But he's grateful the tower and turbine came down in the cornfield during the early morning hours, he said.
"You’d hate to be out there spraying" in the field if a turbine collapsed, Thorp said.