Often lightning rods for stormy politics in Southwestern Ontario, it appears a giant industrial wind turbine near Exeter took a hit from the real thing – a severe weekend storm that lashed the region.
Tuesday, officials were tallying the fallout of Sunday’s wicked weather that spun off a tornado that ripped through Teviotdale, near Listowel, packing winds of up to 220 kilometres an hour. The twister tore the roof from a bungalow and damaged several police cruisers.
Closer to London, officials from wind-energy giant NextEra Canada are investigating what mangled one of their turbines southwest of Exeter late Sunday or early Monday morning.
One of the giant 50-metre-long blades on the turbine appeared to have snapped on the turbine tower that is part of the Goshen Wind Farm in South Huron.
The highrise-sized turbines are common in Southwestern Ontario, but not often are they visibly damaged so badly.
“This is a very rare occurrence and we’re working to understand what happened,” NextEra Canada spokesperson Joeselen Bird said in an e-mail Tuesday.
The area was blasted by high winds and thunderstorms Sunday evening and Monday, when the same storm front that brought the tornado swept over the region.
Bird said NextEra’s investigation could take several days, possibly weeks.
“Right now, the team is focused on securing the site and ensuring no further damage to the turbine nor the adjacent field is sustained,” Bird said.
To repair the turbine, NextEra will have to bring in a crane similar to one used in the construction of the Goshen Wind Farm this year. “This, again, will also take several days,” Bird said.
The Goshen Wind Farm, with 63 turbines, began commercial operation in February.
The Teviotdale tornado left about nine kilometres of damage in its wake, including destroying the exteriors of two homes.
It also ripped through barns, wrecked cars and downed trees and power lines.
With files from Canadian Press
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