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McNaughton calls for moratorium on wind projects

A collapsed wind turbine is enveloped in an ominous shroud of fog, near South Buxton in Chatham-Kent. It is currently unknown why the tower buckled and toppled on 19 January 2018. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

A green energy company based in Maryland is investigating after a wind turbine in Raleigh Township buckled and collapsed late last week. There is extensive damage to the turbine, located near the intersection of Drake Side Road and 16th Line in Chatham-Kent, but no injuries or other property damage was reported.

Crews from TerraForm Power have installed metal fencing to cordon off the area around the turbine, as well as placed platforms in advance of the expected heavy machinery to recover the tower and blades. The turbine has also been disconnected from the grid and other turbines in the area have been shut down.

The turbine was installed on farmland and is set back from the roadway by about 100m. There is a total of 52 turbines as part of TerraForm’s rural Raleigh Wind location near South Buxton.

The incident has prompted the MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, Monte McNaughton, to call for a halt to currently on-going wind farm projects in Otter Creek and North Kent. The latter has been subject to considerable controversy by Water Wells First, a group raising the issue of well water sediment they say is from drilling for the turbines.

McNaughton, a member of the Progressive Conservatives, has demanded that Chris Ballard, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and the governing Liberals place a moratorium on the two other regional wind farm projects.

“It looks like a major buckling of the tower at the mid-point, which is unlikely to be a fatigue failure,” Jon Oldred, the vice president of product management for HBM Prenscia in Southfield, MI, told the Chatham Daily News. “They break quite regularly, but to have the whole tower fail, that’s more of a civil engineering problem, and I would say pretty unusual.”

TerraForm is bringing in experts to investigate why the tower failed.

Metal fencing has been installed around a collapsed wind turbine, seen on 21 January 2018, to keep curiosity seekers away from the mangled wreckage. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Ominously shrouded in fog, a wind turbine near South Buxton collapsed on 19 January 2018. Platforms have been installed in anticipation of the arrival of heavy machinery. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

A wind turbine in Raleigh Township snapped in half on 19 January 2018. Investigators from Terraform, the operators of a 52-turbine wind farm, are looking into the incident. Photo by Ian Shalapata.