Windmills moving too much between base, foundation, NSP discovers
The second-largest wind farm in the province has run into some trouble.
Five of 22 turbines at the $120-million Nuttby Mountain project were moving back and forth too much, a problem that was discovered during checks that were conducted within the last month.
“At one of these site checks, (they found) that’s there’s more movement between the base and the foundation of these turbines than we’d like to see,” Nova Scotia Power spokeswoman Patty Faith said in an interview Wednesday.
The movement would be “very, very minute,” as in the millimetre range, she said.
There are “hairlines” in the bases of the affected turbines, but Faith stressed they were not cracks in the turbines’ foundations.
“What has occurred is that movement has caused more of a cosmetic type of thing,” she said. “The naked eye wouldn’t be able to determine it.”
The turbine builders would have the information on the exact cause of the movement, which is graded during maintenance checks, she said. Anything from levels one to four is acceptable.
Faith did not have the number for the levels detected on the troubled turbines.
It takes three days to repair each of the affected turbines, she said.
Taxpayers and the power company will not have to pay for the repairs because Enercon, which installed the turbines, would foot that bill, she said. “This was all within the confines of our warranty.”
The exact cost to fix the problem wasn’t known Wednesday evening. Faith said it’s unlikely the information would have been provided to the power company.
Because the farm was up and running ahead of schedule, Faith doesn’t believe the downtime required to fix the five turbines will “have a dramatic impact” on the utility’s energy goals for the site.
Another wind farm in Digby underwent the same maintenance routine and all was fine.
The Nuttby Mountain project is expected to be able to power 15,000 homes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 114,000 tonnes per year, Nova Scotia Power’s website said.
Financial troubles drove Nuttby Mountain’s initial developer – EarthFirst Canada Inc. of Calgary – into bankruptcy. Nova Scotia power picked up the development rights to the project in April 2009.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding