One of P.E.I.’s largest wind farms has nearly ground to a halt as six of the 10 towering wind turbines sit idle due to structural damages. 

The Hermanville wind farm is now faced with significant structural repairs to the tune of $10 million, all to be funded by the P.E.I. government. 

A statement from the P.E.I. Energy Corporation on Aug. 30 recognized the underperformance of the wind farm, equating it in part to the significant amount of maintenance the farm requires and damages to the turbines’ main bearings.

“One has failed, and four others are at risk, so Acciona has limited those turbines to 50 per cent capacity,” the P.E.I. Energy Corporation stated.

Construction on the Hermanville wind farm totalled $60 million in 2014, and the P.E.I. Energy Corporation estimates the costs to repair the non-functional wind turbines will be $10 million by the end of maintenance in September 2024.

While Acciona has covered the costs associated with repairs to the wind farm in the past, the P.E.I. Energy Corporation stated it is still in discussions regarding the cost of this round of repairs.

Upon construction, Acciona guaranteed that if the machine capacity of the turbines dipped under 97 per cent in their first 15 years of operation, damages would be paid to the province. 

According to the P.E.I. Energy Corporation’s annual report in 2022, the wind farm only reached 31 per cent capacity, with the turbines themselves reporting less than 80 per cent machine capacity, undershooting Acciona’s guaranteed 97 per cent bar. 

In total, P.E.I has received $4.8 million in liquidated damages on account of the farm’s underperformance, with an additional $1.43 million outstanding for the underperformance reported in 2022 and 2023. 

Reports published by the P.E.I. Energy Corporation have shown the farm to be averaging less than 38 per cent total capacity since construction was completed in 2014. 

Construction is slated to begin in 2023, with the first phase concluding in December and the second to begin in the summer of 2024 and be completed by September. 

The P.E.I. Energy Corporation has stated the farm will look odd temporarily while repairs are conducted, especially those left without turbine blades.

“Blades, gearboxes and main shafts will be taken down so that the main shaft can be replaced and blades can be repaired.” 

After repairs are completed in late 2024, the P.E.I. Energy Corporation expects the Hermanville wind farm will return to normal output.

By Caitlin Coombes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Sep 12, 2023 at 10:41

This item reprinted with permission from   The Guardian   Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
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