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Summerside wind turbine out for repairs

A wind turbine in Summerside is out of commission while crews repair a damaged blade.

Utility crews discovered the damage during a routine inspection a few days after post tropical storm Arthur. Summerside Electric discovered tiny cracks in one blade on one of the four turbines.

Officials say Arthur contributed to the damage, but it’s largely the result of five years of wear and tear.

In the past, damaged blades have been replaced with new ones. For this fix, Summerside Electric will try something that’s never been done before in North America.

Crews from Vestas, the turbine manufacturer, will remove the damaged blade, repair it on site, and re-install it.

Only the blade will be repaired

In coming days, crews will assemble the crane and use it to gently lower the 45-metre blade to the ground.

“What they do is they bring the turbine down to the ground: the blade, not the turbine,” said Greg Gaudet, director of municipal services for the City of Summerside.

“They cut out a piece of fibreglass and put in a new piece of reinforced fibreglass to the specs of the blade and then refinish the areas repaired and then put it back in service.”

Components for a massive crane are now on site. It is estimated repairs will take two and a half weeks.

Vestas will conduct extra inspections after the blade is back in service, to ensure it is functioning properly.

Summerside Electric says the cost of repairs is covered under its service contract with Vestas, which expires this year.

The city is now in talks about whether to extend it.