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West Pubnico wind turbine fire under investigation

All 16 other wind turbines at the site are functioning normally

WEST PUBNICO, N.S. —

An investigation into what caused a wind turbine at the West Pubnico wind farm to catch fire on March 15 is underway.

Bryan Garner, director of communications for NextEra Energy, says a crane will be needed to remove and replace various turbine parts and due to the condition of the ground that won’t happen until spring.

“All 16 other wind turbines at the site are functioning normally,” he said.

A landowner contacted the company’s site manager about the fire at the Pubnico Point Wind Farm, which happened around 4 p.m. The manager contacted the West Pubnico fire department to secure the site.

The performance of the wind turbines is monitored 24/7 from corporate headquarters.

“The fire burned out within about two hours,” said Garner, adding that no one was injured.

During the fire, large chunks of burning nacelle components and melting fibreglass blades were falling from 80 metres above.

Given the height involved, there wasn't much the West Pubnico Fire Department could do to fight the fire.

"We couldn't get close enough and we wouldn't be able to throw water that high anyway," said Chief Gordon Amiro when contacted on the weekend.

Anything that was burnable in the nacelle, the large bus-shaped structure at the top of the tower, along with the blades, was destroyed. The nacelle houses the generation equipment, gearbox, electronics, the unit’s transformer and other internals.

Firefighters stayed on site until the fire was out.

This isn't the first time there's been an issue with a turbine. Several years ago, a nearby resident noticed that a blade on one of the wind turbines had broken. NextEra Energy was informed and investigated the incident.

Statistics from the Canadian Wind Energy Association

There are a total 299 wind farms, comprised of 6,596 turbines, now operating across Canada.

Six new wind energy projects went into operation in 2018, representing an estimated total investment of $1 billion.

Total installed wind energy capacity in Canada is now 12,816 MW, enough to meet the needs of approximately 3.3 million homes.

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