SYDNEY – Nova Scotia Energy Minister Michael Samson says the province is waiting to see the outcome of investigations into a wind turbine collapse in Point Tupper will then determine any further action that needs to be taken.
In a post-cabinet scrum and conference call with reporters, Samson, whose Cape Breton-Richmond riding includes Point Tupper, said the government was pleased no one was injured in the incident.
Two investigations have been launched into the collapse of the 80-metre wind turbine in Point Tupper, which is believed to be the first incident of its kind in Canada.
Samson said when wind farms are established, the Department of Labour and Advanced Education inspects the components.
“Most of these turbines have an elevator system in them as well, which is used by the staff of the companies which operate these turbines,” Samson said. “We’re going to wait to see what comes out of the inspection and the review of what took place and based on that any further decisions that need to be made will be made at that point.”
Montreal-based Emerson Canada Inc. said this week that workers were told to leave the tower before it buckled and fell last week. Enercon crews were in the process of replacing a component as part of regular maintenance at the wind farm at the time.
They were evacuated and no one was injured.
The Canadian Wind Energy Association issued a statement saying it was not aware of a similar failure among the more than 6,000 wind turbines in Canada.
Enercon Canada, a subsidiary of Enercon GmbH in Germany, said it has installed almost 1,000 wind turbines in seven provinces in the past 15 years, and this is the first time one of them has collapsed.
Nova Scotia’s Labour Department has started an investigation, and Enercon has sent a technical team to the site.
A number of communities where wind farms are proposed have raised the issue as a concern.
“I think the fact is the company that operated this turbine has hundreds of turbines throughout Canada, this is the first time we’ve seen an incident like this take place, which is why we’re looking forward to the investigation to see exactly what happened,” Samson said.
He noted there are setback requirements for the turbines from residential areas that are in excess of the length or height of the structures.
Samson said the turbines represent significant investments by the companies involved.
The Point Tupper wind farm is owned and operated by Renewable Energy Services Ltd., based in Lower Sackville, and it is co-owned by Nova Scotia Power Inc.
The 10 other E-82 turbines at the site, built in 2010, were not affected by the collapse.
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