New Brunswick

Cracks in foundation led to wind turbine's collapse, 49 others also at risk

An investigation into what caused the collapse of a wind turbine at New Brunswick's largest wind farm has revealed serious structural issues that not only affect the turbine that fell, but dozens of others in the area as well.

TransAlta Renewables Inc. has to replace foundations of 50 wind turbines at Kent Hills wind farm

A wind turbine at the Kent Hills wind farm was found collapsed across an access road. (Submitted by Steve Shannahan)

An investigation into what caused the collapse of a wind turbine at New Brunswick's largest wind farm has revealed serious structural issues that affect not only the turbine that fell, but dozens of others in the area as well. 

According to TransAlta Renewables Inc., the Alberta-based company that owns and operates the Kent Hills wind farm, the cracks formed because of "deficiencies in the original design of the foundations."

This caused a 100-metre-tall turbine to collapse in the fall of 2021. Now the company plans to replace the foundations of 50 wind turbines in sections 1 and 2 of the wind farm about 55 kilometres southwest of Moncton.

"The root cause failure analysis indicates that deficiencies in the original design of the foundations have caused crack propagation within the foundations and that the foundations must be replaced," TransAlta Renewables said in a news  release Wednesday. 

The company expects the work to cost between $75 and $100 million. 

More than 50 wind turbines dot the landscape at the Kent Hills wind farm. According to the TransAlta website the farm is the largest wind facility in New Brunswick. (Shane Fowler/CBC News)

Wind turbines in the third section of the 167-megawatt wind farm and in other farms owned by TransAlta Renewables are not affected, the release said.

The company said its Kent Hills wind turbines will remain offline until foundations are replaced, a process it expects will take until the end of 2023. 

The TransAlta Renewables the owns and operates the Kent Hills wind farm says the cause of the collapse stated "deficiencies in the original design of the foundations have caused crack propagation within the foundations and that the foundations must be replaced." (Submitted by Steve Shannahan)

The wind farm operates on Crown land near Prosser Brook. The area, including ATV and snowmobile trails, was closed following the collapse of the wind turbine in the fall.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shane Fowler

Reporter

Shane Fowler has been a CBC journalist based in Fredericton since 2013.

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