November 15, 2007

Turbine topple rumour was out of balance

A rumour last week that a Canadian Hydro Developers Melancthon wind turbine had toppled might have had an element of truth but was totally groundless.

A turbine did not tumble, unless part of one falling off a truck qualifies as “a turbine tumble.” The section of a tower that fell from a truck had no connection to the local wind farm, but belonged to a company in North Dakota.

Dufferin OPP Constable Al Buck said the driver of the transport carrying a tubular section or sections of a supporting tower had been proceeding from the Niagara Falls area to North Dakota. The selected route included Dufferin County Road 11. “It was driver error,” he said.

” Brown’s Trucking has a huge yard (just north of County 109). He pulled in there and spent the night. On this way out in the morning, he wasn’t set up for the 90-degree turn.” Mr. Buck said two wheels caught the soft shoulder, causing the load to fall off.

The detachment recorded the mishap as occurring at 7:32 a.m. Friday, Nov. 9. Mr. Buck said the roadway was closed for about two hours, reopening at about 9:45.

The rumour might have arisen from an A-Channel report of the incident, as there apparently was some initial confusion about what had happened.

Interestingly, perhaps because the turbines tower 120 metres to the top of an upright rotor blade and appear slender for their height, speculation that they might be subject to topple has been voiced many times at council and other meetings involving wind farms.

The 120-metre setback of the turbines from lot lines apparently is chosen to allay any fears of them tumbling into adjoining property. Throughout local hearings, however, no one has cited an actual case of a turbine having fallen down.

An official at CHD said their initial information was that a generator had fallen from a truck. “(Whatever it was), it wasn’t one of ours, and none of our turbines have fallen down.”

In fact, said the official, all turbines for the second phase of the Melancthon wind farm are in secure storage – including the towers, generators, rotors and transformers .

Although the Ontario Municipal Board has approved the Melancthon Township’s 67 turbines for the second phase, and although construction of access roads in that township has begun, construction of the turbines themselves is not proceeding, pending the Board’s decision and order for Amaranth Township’s 22.

Even if Hearing Officer Norm Jackson decides in favour of Phase 2 in Amaranth, he has undertaken to withhold his order pending, principally, a resolution of noise complaints at the transformer substation.

By Wes Keller
Freelance Reporter

Orangevill Citizen

15 November 2007

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