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Wind turbines: Despite falling debris, province says they’re safe

The provincial government says falling pieces of debris from some wind turbines do not pose an injury risk and the company responsible for the equipment is taking the appropriate steps to ensure no one is hurt.

Lisa Thompson, the environment critic for the Progressive Conservatives, said residents in the Municipality of Bluewater have reported falling parts from nearby wind turbines. She said there were obvious public safety implications with the falling debris.

Kate Jordan, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, addressed the issue in an interview with CBC News.

“NextEra has reported small pieces of plastic about the size of a ruler, have fallen around the base of the turbine,” Jordan said.

“They have not caused any outside impact and there have not been any injuries or property damage because of that,” she said. “As a precaution, the company has removed all the other pieces of equipment from turbines near roads and houses in the Bluewater area.”

In a Thursday interview with CBC Afternoon Drive host Bob Steele, Thompson said a picture of the debris that she has obtained shows a piece that is more than a metre long.

“It’s not the size of a ruler, I’m sad to say,” Thompson said. “The fact of the matter is, there is discrepancy with what we heard yesterday and with what we see in the picture.”

Thompson said she wants to see a third-party oversee the safety standards of wind turbines, similar to the nuclear, hydro and natural gas sectors.

“We need third-party oversight to make sure every wind farm in this province is held to the same standards for the safety of employees and the safety for the community around the turbines,” she said.