More than traffic signals were twisted and damaged during the frigid snow squall which essentially shut down Sault Ste. Marie late last month. One of the massive turbines at the sprawling Prince Wind Energy Project, immediately northwest of the city limits, was damaged during the Jan. 30 blizzard, which, according to Environment Canada, carried maximum wind gusts of 102 kilometres an hour. An extensive investigation is underway to determine why the turbine sustained a damaged blade and has been inoperable for more than three weeks.
“We believe the blade was damaged after the turbine shut itself down,” said Jim Deluzio, general manager of Ontario Wind Operations with Brookfield Power Corp.
“The investigation will look into the possibility of a defective blade. . . . Winds were high but the blade should not have been damaged.”
Prince Wind Energy’s 118 turbines, atop football field-sized towers, shut themselves down in sustained winds of 90 kilometres an hour, said Deluzio, despite having a rated capacity of being able to handle sustained 200 kilometre an hour winds.
“About three quarters of the system shut itself down at some point during the storm; the entire farm was not exposed to the same amount of wind,” said Deluzio.
“We’ve had turbines shut down in the past because of the wind but not on this scale.”
By Dan Bellerose
22 February 2008
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