NextEra shuts down turbines at wind farms over safety concerns
London Free Press, October 21, 2015
NextEra Energy acknowledged Wednesday that it shut down some of its Ontario turbines and warned landowners after it was discovered a part on spinning blades could fly off.
NextEra said the potential problem was with “a small thin plastic attachment” on the turbine blades that could separate while in operation.
“No injuries or property damage occurred as a result of this situation and we are working aggressively to develop a long-term solution,” NextEra spokesperson Joselen Bird said in an e-mail.
Some wind turbines, particularly those near roadways or other public access areas were temporarily shut down. After the plastic part was removed from the blades, the turbines were restarted, Bird said.
Bird emphasized that affected landowners were notified and the company shared with them the actions being taken.
The issue was raised in the Ontario Legislature Tuesday by Huron-Bruce Conservative MPP Lisa Thompson, who demanded a safety audit of industrial wind turbines across the province because of the risk of falling debris. She asked the government to shut down any turbines found unsafe.
Thompson said farmers in the Municipality of Bluewater north of London had been told by the wind farm company to stay a minimum of 300 metres away from the turbines when harvesting their crops.
Environment Minister Glen Murray said he would be happy to meet with Thompson about the issue and share any inspection reports. But Murray declined to agree to a safety audit.
“Wind turbines are just about the safest technology we have out there, certainly compared to coal plants,” Murray said.
“There are challenges with any technology, certainly transmission lines,” Murray added.