Farmers Forum staff
CHATHAM — There were two wind turbine fires in Western Ontario last month.
A wind turbine burst into flames just northeast of Goderich on June 3. Despite speculation of a lightning strike, “there was no lightning that day,” said Goderich fire chief Jeff Wormington. In discussion with Capital Power that manages the turbine, Wormington said that there are many possible causes, noting numerous breaking points in the turbine.
There is a large contact switch that could have arced, as well there are bearings that produce a lot of heat in an area with hydraulic oil, Wormington said.
On June 15, OMAFRA field crop pathologist Albert Tenuta tweeted out an image (at right) of a wind turbine near Muirkirk, in East Chatham-Kent. It appears the turbine was struck by lightning. Unfortunately, wind turbines standing hundreds of feet tall are easy targets for lightning bolts. Lightning protection systems are being tested for wind turbine blades at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory.