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West Pubnico wind turbine to be repaired later this spring

YARMOUTH – An investigation into what caused a wind turbine to catch fire last week is underway.

Bryan Garner, director of communications for NextEra Energy, the operators of the Pubnico Point Wind Farm, says a crane will be needed to remove and replace various turbine parts but due to the condition of the ground that won’t happen until spring.

“All 16 other wind turbines at the site are functioning normally,” he said.

A landowner contacted the company’s site manager about the fire and the manager contacted the West Pubnico fire department.

“The fire burned out within about two hours,” said Garner, adding that no one was injured.

During the fire, large chunks of burning nacelle components and melting fibreglass blades were falling from 80 metres above.

Given the height involved, there wasn’t much the West Pubnico Fire Department could do to fight the fire.

“We couldn’t get close enough and we wouldn’t be able to throw water that high anyway,” said fire chief Gordon Amiro when contacted on the weekend.

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, and the unit’s transformer.

Firefighters stayed on site until the fire was out.

This isn’t the first time there’s been an issue with one of the wind turbines. Three years ago a nearby resident noticed that a blade on one of the wind turbines had broken.

According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association there are 299 wind farms, comprised of 6,596 turbines, operating across Canada.

Six new wind energy projects went into operation in 2018, representing an estimated total investment of $1 billion.

The total installed wind energy capacity in Canada is now 12,816 MW, enough to meet the needs of about 3.3 million homes.