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Gale winds a threat to damaged turbine

The threat of Hurricane Bill has workers at New Brunswick's first commercial wind farm busily attempting to protect the blackened remains of one of its turbines. A major fire damaged one of the 32 turbines at the Kent Hills wind farm on Aug. 8. The burnt-out wind turbine still sits atop its perch in Albert County two weeks after a fire grounded its power generation capabilities.

The threat of Hurricane Bill has workers at New Brunswick's first commercial wind farm busily attempting to protect the blackened remains of one of its turbines.

A major fire damaged one of the 32 turbines at the Kent Hills wind farm on Aug. 8.

The burnt-out wind turbine still sits atop its perch in Albert County two weeks after a fire grounded its power generation capabilities.

Because the tower has yet to be dismantled and the cause of the fire remains undetermined, TransAlta workers are now installing protective panels in attempts to preserve what is left of a turbine resting 80 metres in the sky.

"The machine has been damaged and it is no longer fully covered because part of the wall is burnt away," said Jason Edworthy, director of community development for TransAlta Wind.

"We just want to make sure that pieces are not going to fall off and we do not want to lose anything that would be integral to the investigation.

"There is a little more urgency with Hurricane Bill coming."

TransAlta eventually wants to dismantle the turbine from the tower in order to determine both the cause of the fire and what is needed to make the windmill operational again.

The company has already said it... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The threat of Hurricane Bill has workers at New Brunswick's first commercial wind farm busily attempting to protect the blackened remains of one of its turbines.

A major fire damaged one of the 32 turbines at the Kent Hills wind farm on Aug. 8.

The burnt-out wind turbine still sits atop its perch in Albert County two weeks after a fire grounded its power generation capabilities.

Because the tower has yet to be dismantled and the cause of the fire remains undetermined, TransAlta workers are now installing protective panels in attempts to preserve what is left of a turbine resting 80 metres in the sky.

"The machine has been damaged and it is no longer fully covered because part of the wall is burnt away," said Jason Edworthy, director of community development for TransAlta Wind.

"We just want to make sure that pieces are not going to fall off and we do not want to lose anything that would be integral to the investigation.

"There is a little more urgency with Hurricane Bill coming."

TransAlta eventually wants to dismantle the turbine from the tower in order to determine both the cause of the fire and what is needed to make the windmill operational again.

The company has already said it will lose several weeks of electricity output from the one turbine because of the amount of fire damage.

Each turbine at Kent Hills can generate up to 8.6 million kilowatts of electricity annually, equivalent to the power usage of 540 New Brunswick homes.

A single turbine is estimated to cost between $4 million and $5 million dollars to replace.

"What we are working on right now is with local occupational health and safety, the correct plan to get everything down so we can really get a look at it properly," Edworthy said. "I don't know for sure when we will have cranes there to do that, but I suspect in the next week.

"It's hard to carry testing equipment up to the top of the tower, especially when you are being careful, so they want to get everything down on the ground."

There are only three or four cranes in Atlantic Canada that are tall enough to reach the wind turbines. Edworthy said it takes time to acquire their services.

Fortifying the remains of the turbine is necessary to aid in discovering the fire's cause in the meantime.

"Obviously the provincial safety body as well as our own guys want to make sure that everything is done very safely," Edworthy said. "Without knowing the full extent of the damage you have to assume it is a challenge."


Source: http://telegraphjournal.can...

AUG 22 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/21845-gale-winds-a-threat-to-damaged-turbine
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