Nova Scotia

Nextera Energy investigates cause of wind turbine fire in West Pubnico

The company that operates the wind farm in West Pubnico where a turbine caught fire and burned Friday is investigating the cause of the blaze.

Wind company says work to remove and replace the burned parts will take place in the spring

The burning wind turbine in West Pubnico scattered pieces of flaming debris around the area. (Frankie Crowell)

The company that operates a wind farm in West Pubnico where a turbine caught fire and burned Friday is investigating the cause of the blaze.

The fire broke out shortly after 4 p.m. Friday at the Pubnico Point Wind Energy Center, owned by Nextera Energy Resources.

Firefighters were at the scene quickly but could do little to battle the flames, West Pubnico fire Chief Gordon Amiro said.

When the blades turn, the tips are more than 100 metres in the air — too high to fight the fire from the ground.

"A landowner contacted our wind site manager about the fire, who in turn contacted the local fire department to secure the site," Nextera Energy spokesperson Bryan Garner said in an email Monday.

"We also monitor the performance of all of our wind turbines 24/7 from our corporate headquarters. The fire burned out within about two hours. No one was injured, and the site was safely secured."

He said an investigation into what caused the fire has begun.

"We will need a crane to remove and replace various turbine parts and due to the conditions of the ground, we will need to wait until spring before we can do that. All 16 other wind turbines at the site are functioning normally."

Two of the turbine's blades were completely burned and the nacelle, the gearbox at the centre of the blades that's "almost as big as a school bus," was also seriously damaged, Amiro said.

According to a July 2014 study by the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London, England, wind turbines may catch fire because their design puts highly flammable materials, such as hydraulic oil and plastic, in close proximity to machinery and electrical wires.

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