By Tyler Kula, Sarnia Observer
Lightning is the likely culprit after a wind turbine blade snapped amid a storm late Sunday into early Monday, near Grand Bend, a NextEra spokesperson says. One of the towering turbine’s three 50-meter-long blades was dangling Tuesday as the energy company worked to get a crane to safely take it down and uncover exactly what happened, said Josie Bird, of NextEra.
The $2-million turbine is one of 63 in the company’s 102-megawatt Goshen Wind Energy Centre — along Kirkton Road, between Blackbush and Shipka lines – in Huron County. “It’s so rare,” Bird said about the snapped blade. Only twice have NextEra turbines been similarly damaged, she said, including once at the company’s Mt. Millar Wind Farm in Quebec.
Lightning is the presumed cause there too, she said. “Obviously lightning is No. 1 on everybody’s mind,” she said about this weekend’s damage, noting turbines are designed to weather strong winds and it doesn’t appear gusts caused the blade to break. No one was injured, but the extent of falling debris on the property from the 80-metre-tall turbine isn’t clear yet, she said.
Officials haven’t been able to get close enough while the blade is hanging. “Safety is our No. 1 concern,” she said, noting the area has been secured. A damage estimate and exact cause could take a few days to a week, she said, noting NextEra will cover any property damage caused by falling debris. “These turbines are sited in a way that they’re not near any major infrastructure: any homes, any major roads,” she said. Read article
[Ed note: as most of you know bolded statement by Josie above is a blatant lie. NextEra turbines are within blade throw, ice throw, and topple distance of roadways ranging from dirt roads that school buses travel, to Highway 402.]