Enbridge wind farm is up and running, ribbon-cutting April 3

By Liz Dadson

Science

The wind has been strong over the winter and that's good news for the Enbridge Ontario Wind Farm and the Cruickshank Wind Farm, both owned by Enbridge and located in the north end of the Municipality of Kincardine.

The Enbridge Ontario project includes 110 wind turbines north of Tiverton which were all turning by Feb. 19 this year. The Cruickshank farm includes five turbines south of Tiverton which have been operating since October of last year.

General manager Bob Simpson says there have been few complaints about the wind farms, except for concerns about the blinking, red navigation lights on the top of the towers. "Those are required as per Transport Canada regulations," he says, "which we have to adhere to closely."

He says people have reported that the windmills are not always turning, even if there is a wind.

"In those instances, Hydro One could be doing some work on the transmission lines and the turbines have to be turned off for a short time," says Simpson. "We also have a rigorous maintenance program. After three months of operation, Vestas (the company that built the windmills) comes in and the turbines are shut down for servicing for about three or four days."

The turbines can be taken off-line from the sub-station or from a remote location, says Simpson. Every six months, the company will be checking each turbine to ensure it is working properly.

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25/03/2009 10:49 PM


 

He says there was little problem with 'icing' of the turbine rotor blades which was a safety requirement identified during the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing. "It's no different to the warnings required for any tall building or power line in the area. You're supposed to stay away from them."

Enbridge has six employees, working out of an office in downtown Kincardine, says Simpson. It also has 15-18 contractors, mostly from the Kincardine area, working out of an office at the corner of Bruce County Road 4 and Sideroad 30, in the former Bruce Township.

Simpson says the sub-station, located on Concession 6 east of Underwood, is up and running. It ties into two different lines, transferring the wind power into Hydro One's grid. A ribbon-cutting at the sub-station site is scheduled for April 3 at 3 p.m., with George Smitherman, Ontario minister of energy and infrastructure, expected to attend.

As for expansion of the wind farms, Simpson says Enbridge is trying to get clear rules to work with. "If the industry knows the rules, it's easier to go through with a project."

The Cruickshank wind farm has been producing power since October and Simpson notes that January and February are the windiest months in this area, with less wind in the summer. It will be another month or two before he has firm figures as to how much power was produced by that project.

According to the Independent Market Operator (IMO), during an extremely windy day earlier this month, there was enough wind power generated across the province to light a city the size of Peterborough, says Simpson.

Regarding comments about the decommissioning of the wind turbines, Simpson says Enbridge's planning documents indicate that for each turbine, one metre of the cement at the base will be removed, and the site covered up and restored so it can be reused as agricultural land. The current life span is 20 years, he says, but there is always an opportunity to extend the life of the turbines.


 

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