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West Pubnico wind turbine destroyed by fire

The spectacle of a burning wind turbine in West Pubnico could be seen for miles around the afternoon of March 15. Frankie Crowell photos

WEST PUBNICO, N.S. – With large chunks of burning nacelle components and melting fibreglass blades falling from 80 metres above, there wasn’t much the West Pubnico Fire Department could do when a wind turbine fire was reported the afternoon of March 15.

“We couldn’t get close enough and we wouldn’t be able to throw water that high anyway,” said Chief Gordon Amiro.

Anything that was burnable in the nacelle, the large bus-shaped structure at the top of the tower, along with the blades, was destroyed.

The nacelle houses the generation equipment, gearbox, electronics, the unit’s transformer and other internals.

The firefighters stayed on site until the fire was out.

Amiro says he’s glad the blaze didn’t happen in August.

“The burning gear that was falling down was landing in the bush. The ground was wet and it was raining. That was a plus,” he said.

The 17 wind turbine generators located at the West Pubnico Point Wind Farm are Vestas V-80 turbines, each of which produces 1.8 megawatts of electricity. The wind turbines installed on site consist of towers that are approximately 80 metres tall with a total blade diameter of 82 metres.

An abstract written by Mary and Richard Snow contains the following information:

The idea for harnessing the strong and steady Pubnico winds began in 2000 when Brad d’Entremont and Joerg Losse were discussing German wind farms and realized the power potential in their own neighbourhood. The two enlisted the aid of a couple more partners and created the Atlantic Wind Power Corporation. In just three years they won the bid to construct a 30.6-megawatt wind farm in West Pubnico, the first in Nova Scotia.

The West Pubnico Point Wind Farm project was commissioned in 2005. In 2008, the entire project was purchased by NextEra Energy Canada.

Cause of the fire is unknown at this point.