Canadian Manufacturing

Wind turbine collapses at Point Tupper wind farm in Nova Scotia

Crew working to replace turbine component evacuated before tower collapsed last week


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HALIFAX—An investigation has been launched into the collapse of a 82-metre wind turbine in Cape Breton, where workers were told to leave the tower before it toppled over.

Montreal-based Enercon Canada Inc. issued a statement late last week saying the turbine collapsed Aug. 17 when a component was being replaced.

The company says no one was injured, but it confirmed that the turbine was evacuated prior to the collapse at its Point Tupper wind farm near Port Hawkesbury, N.S.

“The technician on site diligently followed (an evacuation) protocol, and safely evacuated the turbine and the surroundings in time to avoid any injuries prior to the turbine’s collapse,” the statement said.

“Only property damage has been reported.”

The company’s German parent says it has installed almost 1,000 wind turbines in seven provinces in the past 15 years, and it says this is the first time one of them has collapsed.

Enercon said a technical team has been called in to investigate.

“This incident did not occur during regular operations and is undoubtedly an isolated one,” the company said.

A spokesperson for the company could not be reached for comment Aug. 24.

The wind farm is owned and operated by Renewable Energy Services Ltd., based in Lower Sackville, N.S.

Kevin Doucette, the company’s chief financial officer, said he couldn’t comment on what happened because he is waiting for a report from Enercon.

“It is an isolated circumstance,” he said. “It wasn’t to do with the operations … Until we see the final results, I really don’t know what the path is from here.”

Renewable Energy Services holds a majority stake in the project, which is co-owned by Nova Scotia Power Inc., the province’s privately owned electric utility.

The 10 other E-82 turbines at the site, built in 2010, were not affected by the collapse, Doucette said. Each of the turbines can generate 2.05 megawatts of electricity.

It’s rare for wind turbines to collapse, but it does happen.

Earlier this year, a 120-metre Vestas turbine fell in a field in Elkton, Mich., the Detroit Free Press reports.

At the time, a spokesman for Vestas said the collapse was a first in the United States for the company.

Enercon said it has installed more than 25,000 turbines worldwide and it employs 450 people in Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, N.S., Matane, Que., and Boucherville, Que.


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