Damaged Pubnico Point wind turbine: 'Like thunder out of the clear blue sky'

Tina Comeau tcomeau@thevanguard.ca
Published on March 20, 2016

PUBNICO, YARMOUTH COUNTY – Maurice D’Eon describes what he heard from his home on Saturday as “thunder out of the clear blue sky.”

Not only was he surprised to hear what sounded like thunder.

But afterwards he was even more surprised by what he saw.

When D’Eon, who lives near the Pubnico Point Wind Farm, came outside to investigate what he heard, he saw that one of the blades on a turbine was “in distress.”

The blade was bending, says D’Eon, who says he heard the thunder-like sound at around 5 p.m. on March 19.

“It was like thunder out of the clear blue sky,” he says.

D’Eon said he contacted someone from the company to report the incident and what he was witnessing with the blade.

On Sunday morning that turbine sat idle, while the other nearby ones continued to rotate.

The wind farm is owned and operated by NextEra Energy Resources. The company's director of communications, Steve Stengel, says the company is looking into what happened.

"The next steps include conducting an investigation into the cause of the blade issue – that is already underway – and getting the necessary equipment to the site to remove the damaged blade. I don't have the timing on that at this point," he said Sunday.

The site has been secured. For safety reasons, a section of the road that leads to the wind farm was barricaded on Sunday to prevent curious onlookers from getting too close to the site. There is a walking trail at the wind farm site.

There was a steady stream of people driving to the site to get a closer look at the blade.

Security Guards from MacKenzie Security were on site.

Calvin d’Entremont, the municipal councillor for area, was at the site Sunday morning to look at the damage.

“I just happened to be in the area and as a citizen came over to see what was going on,” he said, saying he was surprised by what he saw.

“I was quite surprised, I didn’t expect to see a blade break, but I guess anything that is manmade can break,” he said.

He said he had also heard descriptions from residents of a thunder-like sound.

“Around five-ish, suppertime, people said that it sounded like thunder,” he said.

According to NextEra Energy Canada, the Pubnico Point Wind Energy Centre has 17 turbines that are capable of generating enough electricity to power 9,000 homes. It is a 30.6-megawatt wind generation plant.

Each turbine is approximately 78 metres tall from the ground to the hub in the centre in the blades.

The Pubnico wind farm was built by Atlantic Wind Power Inc. It was purchased by NextEra Energy Canada in 2008.

This story will be updated when more information is available.