N.S. wind tur­bine fire pre­sents prob­lem for fire­fight­ers

The Western Star - - ATLANTIC - CARLA AL­LAN

WEST PUBNICO, N.S. — With large chunks of burn­ing na­celle com­po­nents and melt­ing fi­bre­glass blades fall­ing from 80 me­tres above, there wasn’t much the West Pubnico Fire Depart­ment could do when a wind tur­bine fire was re­ported the af­ter­noon of March 15.

“We couldn’t get close enough and we wouldn’t be able to throw wa­ter that high any­way,” said Chief Gor­don Amiro.

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.

The fire­fight­ers stayed on site un­til the fire was out.

Amiro says he’s glad the blaze didn’t hap­pen in Au­gust.

“The burn­ing gear that was fall­ing down was land­ing in the bush. The ground was wet and it was rain­ing. That was a plus,” he said.

The 17 wind tur­bine gen­er­a­tors lo­cated at the West Pubnico Point Wind Farm are Ves­tas V-80 tur­bines, each of which pro­duces 1.8 megawatts of elec­tric­ity. The wind tur­bines in­stalled on site con­sist of tow­ers that are ap­prox­i­mately 80 me­tres tall with a to­tal blade di­am­e­ter of 82 me­tres.

Cause of the fire is un­known at this point.

The West Pubnico Point Wind Farm project was com­mis­sioned in 2005. In 2008, the project was pur­chased by Nex­tEra En­ergy Canada.

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