MERLIN — A single bad blade on a Western Ontario turbine cost TerraForm power shareholders $6 million in cash dividends.
The turbine, located in a farmer’s field, east of Merlin (pop. 750), in south Chatham-Kent, in Southwestern Ontario, buckled and snapped in half after a turbine blade collided with the more than 300 ft.-high hub on Jan. 19. The top-half of the tower buckled and doubled over. A local farmer said the story going around is that the one of the blades was bending from the wind and made contact with the tower.
According to a May 1 report from TerraForm power, the accident cost shareholders $6 million in cash that would’ve otherwise been paid out in dividends.
The wrecked turbine was hauled away, according to Chatham-Kent chief of fire and emergency services Bob Crawford, although TerraForm power did not confirm where it was taken. The wind project was back up and operating again on March 29.
It’s the second collapse of a modern, solid-shaft turbine structure in Canada, according to the Caithness Windfarm Information Forum, a Scottish group that compiles a global list of wind turbine accidents. The first collapse was in Nova Scotia in 2016.
There are about 6,500 operating turbines across the country. With more than 2,500 wind turbines, Ontario has more than any other province. The highest concentration is in Southwestern Ontario.