One of three wind turbines at Ferndale is listing, and officials are trying to determine what to do about it.
But the owners of the facility say that the site is secure and there is no risk to public safety.
“The landowners are safe, the neighbours are safe, properties and structures are safe,” said Aaron Boles, senior vice-president of investor relations and communication with Capstone Infrastructure, which owns the three-turbine wind farm. “The closest structure to that turbine is 400 metres away and the closest road is 900 metres away, and that whole turbine to tip height is 115 metres.”
Twenty-four hour security has also been placed at the site and the turbine has been tethered, Boles said.
Capstone first became aware of a problem with the turbine last week when electronic communications with it were interrupted, he said.
“We sent a maintenance crew up there and, doing their routine regular maintenance to get the turbine back online, they noticed that one of the turbines appeared to be listing slightly,” said Boles. “We immediately sent our engineers up there to the site and they confirmed the turbine was in the leaning position.”
Boles said officials and engineers from Vestas, who manufactured the turbine in 2002, were on site on Tuesday, and along with Capstone staff and consulting engineers, were working to determine the cause of the lean.
“At this point we are looking to see the best remedy to stabilize and straighten out that turbine before it comes back online,” Boles said.
The engineers on site will help determine if the turbine can be righted and put back into operation, Boles said.
“It is highly unusual for a turbine to move at all,” said Boles. “Because it is unusual, especially in Ontario, we are getting the best qualified minds on the site to make that decision.”
The turbine has been taken offline, while the two other turbines at the site have been inspected and are operating as normal, Boles said. Capstone has also been in contact with the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, and the Independent Electricity System Operator to make them aware of the situation.
Boles did not know when a decision would be made on how to proceed with the turbine.
Capstone Infrastructure took ownership of the Ferndale wind power facility in 2013 when it acquired Renewable Energy Developers Inc. The facility first achieved commercial operation in November 2002 with one turbine, while the two other turbines at the site began operation in Oct. 2006.
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