Instead of generating electricity, one of the turbines in the Erie Shores Wind Farm was crippled by it.
A lightning strike bent one of the blades of a turbine on April 26 at 11:30 p.m. The turbine is located south of Nova Scotia Line and west of Port Burwell.
David Price of Clean Power Income Fund, which owns the wind farm, said the machines are designed to withstand lightning, but only to a certain extent.
“If the lightning hits the machine itself, it’s not a problem,” he said. “If it hits the blade, it can’t withstand that kind of energy.”
Mike Crawley, president and CEO of AIM PowerGen told the News the wind turbine performed just as designed to when hit.
“The blade took a direct hit from lightning and buckled, but did not separate from the rest of the turbine,” he said.
“And the turbine itself stopped working as soon as it detected an imbalance.”
Estimated damage is in the range of $200,000. The loss is insured and it’s expected to take three to four weeks before the turbine is operational again. Replacement of the blade will mean bringing in a large crane.
Price said the company had budgeted on three such losses per year. Last Thursday’s lightning strike was the first serious damage to one of the turbines since the wind farm became operational in June 2006.
With the one-year anniversary approaching rapidly, Price said the company is on target to meet its power generation projections.
– With files from Stephan Kleiser
By Jeff Helsdon
4 May 2007
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