Cracks in foundation led to wind turbine collapse, 49 others also at risk

·1 min read
A wind turbine at the Kent Hills wind farm was found collapsed across an access road. (Submitted by Steve Shannahan - image credit)
A wind turbine at the Kent Hills wind farm was found collapsed across an access road. (Submitted by Steve Shannahan - image credit)

An investigation into what caused the collapse of a wind turbine at New Brunswick's largest wind farm has revealed serious structural issues that not affect not only the turbine that fell, but dozens of others in the area as well.

According to TransAlta Renewables Inc., the Alberta-based company that owns and operates the Kent Hills wind farm, the cracks formed because of "deficiencies in the original design of the foundations."

This caused a 100-metre-tall turbine to collapse in the fall of 2021. Now the company plans to replace the foundations of 50 wind turbines in sections 1 and 2 of the wind farm about 55 kilometres southwest of Moncton.

"The root cause failure analysis indicates that deficiencies in the original design of the foundations have caused crack propagation within the foundations and that the foundations must be replaced," TransAlta Renewables said in a news release Wednesday.

The company expects the work to cost between $75 and $100 million.

Shane Fowler/CBC News
Shane Fowler/CBC News

Wind turbines in the third section of the 167-megawatt wind farm and in other farms owned by TransAlta Renewables are not affected, the release said.

The company said its Kent Hills wind turbines will remain offline until foundations are replaced, a process it expects will take until the end of 2023.

Submitted by Steve Shannahan
Submitted by Steve Shannahan

The wind farm operates on Crown land near Prosser Brook. The area, including ATV and snowmobile trails, was closed following the collapse of the wind turbine in the fall.

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