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GE investigates new wind turbine collapse in Brazil

Luciano Costa

SAO PAULO, Sept 5 (Reuters) - General Electric Co is investigating the cause of another accident involving wind power equipment it built and installed on a wind farm in Brazil operated by power company Omega, the two companies said on Thursday.

On Tuesday, a GE wind turbine fell to the ground from its tower at the Delta 6 wind farm in Brazil's northern Maranhao state. A worker is being treated for injuries.

Two months ago another turbine made by GE collapsed in Brazil when its tower broke in half. There have been three such collapses of GE wind turbines in the United States this year.

"We are working to contain and solve these problems as soon as possible to guarantee the safety and reliability of our equipment," GE's Brazilian unit said in reply to a request for comment by Reuters.

"We are working to find the causes behind the accident," GE said, adding that it was giving assistance to the worker injured in the accident and his family.

Omega said it was working with GE to discover the cause of the accident.

RDS Energia, a Brazilian consultancy that develops wind farm projects, said this type of accident was unusual, since towers and turbines are designed to resist winds of up to 300 km (186 miles) per hour.

RDS head Rodrigo Nereu dos Santos said a repeat of such accidents could have an impact on GE's image and potentially hurt its chances in future tenders to supply equipment.

GE has sold more than 3,000 turbines for wind farms in Brazil, accounting for around 5.5 gigawatts of generating capacity. Brazil has currently 15 gigawatts in wind power capacity, accounting for about 9% of its electricity generation. (Reporting by Luciano Costa; writing by Marcelo Teixeira Editing by Tom Brown)