Part of a blade on a wind turbine just off Grey County Road 8 southwest of Dundalk broke and fell to the earth last Wednesday morning.
Although the company is still investigating the cause, Megan Hunter of Capstone Infrastructure told the Dundalk Herald that there was a special circumstance.
“We can confirm that we were testing an aerodynamic improvement device on the turbine in question,” she said in an email reply.
The test device had been placed only on the one turbine, she said. There were no injuries and the only damage was to the turbine itself in the incident at about 9:40 a.m. on Jun. 30.
The turbine “experienced severe damage resulting in part of one of the blades breaking and falling to the ground,” she said.
The hub diameter of the turbines is 100 metres. The initial open house for the proposed Skyway 8 took place in 2008 under leadership of Windrush Energy. But before the project was built, the approvals changed hands. It was commissioned in 2014 by Capstone Energy.
After the incident, staff controlled the site with round-the-clock security through the weekend. Grey County closed the road temporarily as Capstone assessed and worked on the site.
“All of the turbines at the Skyway 8 facility were taken offline, inspected, and confirmed to have no increased risk before being returned to service.”
Ms Hunter said that safety was the company’s priority, and that as of Friday, there was “no conclusive information indicating the specific cause of the failure” and there would be a formal investigation.
Adding a device called a “Power Cone” was approved in the winter of 2019, by an amendment to the Environmental Compliance for Skyway 8.
Biome Renewables is the developer of the turbine retrofit, which has attracted a lot of interest from the industry.
Information provided by Natural Resources Canada on the Skyway 8 pilot project states that the project received funding of about $1.9 million dollars under the Energy Innovation Program.
The device is a much smaller three-pronged device added at the hub which is intended to channel the wind onto the blades addressing a problem called “root leakage.”
The company’s website says the device will reduce noise and also increase power output by 13 percent. It is described as at the stage of a “market-ready pilot project.”
That level of interest and funding mean the continued investigation of the incident to track down the root cause of the event.
In the meantime, pictures of the incident had already started to circulate among groups with concerns about wind power.
The published regulations require a minimum setback distance from roadways of the blade length plus 10 metres.
M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald