Library from Nova Scotia
As Cumberland County considers a six-month moratorium on the development of new wind farms, the group behind a proposed 100-megawatt project in the Wentworth Valley suggests a halt could kill the wind industry in that part of Nova Scotia.
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.
Firefighters were at the scene quickly but could do little to battle the flames, West Pubnico fire Chief Gordon Amiro said. When the blades turn, the tips are more than 100 metres in the air — too high to fight the fire from the ground.
Firefighters were unable to get close enough to put the fire out directly because of the turbine's height and movement of the blades -- and it couldn't be turned off with the gearbox on fire. "It was too dangerous to get close to it," Amiro said. "Because of the length of the blades and the blades were turning, you didn't know where they were going to go when they fell."
"We couldn't get nowhere near because the blades was still turning, so, and pieces was breaking off the blades," he said. "So if a piece was to fall off, it would go a long ways with the wind and that. So it wasn't safe to go nowhere near the tower at all."
The Nova Scotia government has given up on attempts to find a buyer for one of Atlantic Canada’s largest industrial sites. In a news release, Business Minister Geoff MacLellan says for more than two years “every effort” was made to find a buyer for the former DSME wind plant in Trenton without success.
“Finally, it’s final,” he said. “It’s been a 10-year struggle and this is the last one and I can tell you it’s a very good feeling because a lot of people have worked very hard for a very long time. There are still people working, but I’m told they are packing up and securing the (turbine) sites, so it should be over with. Of course there is still the decommissioning of the project and that should be interesting because to the best of my knowledge, there’s never been a wind project decommissioned in Ontario.”
After two years and no takers, Nova Scotia is poised to end its efforts to sell an idle wind turbine manufacturing plant in Pictou County, bringing to a close another failed government-backed industrial enterprise.
St. John’s-based Beothuk Energy’s proposed $4-billion, offshore wind energy development for the southern tip of Nova Scotia is on the backburner two years after it was unveiled.
Canadian utility Emera has proposed exporting power from 1.2GW of future onshore wind farms in eastern Canada via a subsea cable to Massachusetts, to help the New England state meet its mandated renewables target.
Enercon's email did not elaborate on the hub's damage. However, documents from the Labour Department regarding a subsequent stop-work order said a hub assembly was damaged in a "bearing failure" in March 2016. On Aug. 17, workers tested the turbine's lightning-protection system, which required positioning the blades so they pitched into the wind.
Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, a coalition of groups opposed to wind farm development, said the Western study shows local support of a wind farm should be required before any project is approved. “Municipalities should be able to say no, which is not allowed by the province. The Green Energy Act was written for the wind power industry and not the people of Ontario,” she said.
The study, published in a recent edition of the Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, notes that fast-paced development and limits on local decision-making has resulted in strong opposition to wind projects. Those objections can be mitigated by the fair distribution and amount of area benefits, the authors write.
But when Parks Canada took over management of the 40-kilometre-long island when it became a national park reserve in 2013, the wind turbines were not functioning. ... the turbines were fully installed and running in 2006. “Unfortunately, technical problems continued due to the harsh conditions and the inability to adapt the technology to the operations of the other infrastructure at the site.”
Lotta Schmidt said “a combination of factors” led to the collapse, but despite being asked several times to specify what those factors were she declined to elaborate. “The fact that it’s not a design or a technical issue allows us to be confident that it’s not something that can happen at other sites.
"If it's too windy, then maybe it's not the right place for it [the turbine]," said Doreen Aucoin. "Because it is close to houses and I imagine the people up the hill ... they must have been scared because it was right near to their house."
The province’s energy minister says setback regulations are in place to protect the public and neighbouring landowners should wind turbines fall, as has happened twice in Cape Breton in the past five months.
It’s shattered it to pieces, blown apart by a south easterly wind, it was blown to pieces — incredible power. -- Pierre Chiasson
People in the Grand Étang area of Nova Scotia's Inverness County tweeted photos and video of a wind turbine, whose main trunk was snapped clean in two, with the leftover blade apparatus lying at its base.