The Caribou wind farm near Bathurst, N.B., has been shut down for the second winter in a row because of ice. 

tp-nb-icy-windmill

The Caribou wind farm near Bathurst, N.B., has the capacity to produce enough electricity to power about 30,000 homes, but has been slowed by ice for two consecutive winters. ((CBC))

Manager Mark Hachey says the 33 turbines were last in operation during the second week of January. The farm, which is about 70 km northwest of Bathurst, had similar problems last winter and had lost 20 days of power generation by mid-February.

"The cold weather is not an issue," Hachey said. "They can run in rain, they can run in snow. It's when you get an accumulation of ice, much similar to an airplane. On our site, the last couple of years the weather has been really abnormal and the moisture that comes up the mountain is giving us a little bit more problems than we normally would expect."

Hachey says they are hoping for a sunny, mild day to melt the ice.

Meanwhile, the company is looking into other possible solutions including applying a non-stick coating to the turbine blades, using heaters on them, or spraying them with hot water from a helicopter.

The Caribou Wind Park has the capacity to produce enough electricity to power about 30,000 homes.

Suez Energy was awarded a 20-year contract to build the farm in Feb., 2008, and sell up to 99 megawatts of power to NB Power. It began operating in Nov. 2009.