Wind turbines returned to work

EAST POINT, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND - All 10 turbines at a wind farm in eastern P.E.I. are back in operation for the first time since March, when six of them were taken offline due to problems in their gear boxes.

There were delays in getting the turbines back in operation.

The $47 million project at East Point had only been spinning for a little over a year when the problem was discovered. Originally, the province thought repairs would be done two months ago, but testing on the final repair was only recently completed.

In the spring, strong winds prevented work at the top of the 50-metre towers. Spring weight restrictions on the roads also delayed Vestas, the company that built and repaired the towers. It had to wait for the restrictions to be lifted before it could move repair equipment.

Vestas paid for the repairs under warranty, but that's not the only cost to consider. A lot of electricity has been lost since while the turbine stood idle for five months, but most of that is also covered under the warranty.

"With the software, you're able to calculate what the expected wind would be at that time, and to tell you how much power you should be generating," Ron Estabrooks, energy adviser for the province, told CBC News.

Vestas will pay the province for 95 per cent of the power that would have been generated. P.E.I. arranged this special agreement with Vestas in a five-year warranty and maintenance package that's costing taxpayers a million dollars a year.

"In this case, I would say it was a million dollars well-spent," said Estabrooks.

The cheque from Vestas is expected in the next couple of months, but Estabrooks said people will have to wait for official financial reports to learn what the amount is.


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