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Ontario Wind Turbine With Collapsed Blade

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Last updated March 2011

Opinions, bird fatalities

So one hazy day I was driving along the Lake Erie shore on Highway 3 when suddenly I decided to take the 'scenic route' with the hope that some photo opportunity will raise to the occasion. Which, in this case, meant going off the main road and start driving on secondary, unpaved roads.  I was just returning from a Point Pelee photo assignment, and was driving somewhere between the Rondeau Provincial Park and the Long Point Bird Observatory when my right eye was drawn in the distance by a weird looking wind turbine.

If you are familiar with the area, you know there are a few wind turbine farms rotating happily in the wind and dominating the landscape. Wind turbines are converting wind’s kinetic energy into mechanical energy which in turn is converted to electricity. What I didn’t know about them was:

  • The blade span of a wind turbine is equivalent to the wing span of a jumbo jet.
  • And the blade tips can travel at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.

That’s pretty damn fast for such huge turbine blades.

As I stopped the car to better observe the turbine, I noticed that one of the blades had collapsed. Its structural support had simply gave up under its massive weight. While the materials that make the turbine blades are light fiberglass composites, the blade still weighs between 13 to 20 tonnes each, depending on their length. I have never seen a wind turbine blade broken like this before. Have you?

The wind turbine in discussion was far away from where I parked and being pretty tired from photographing birds in Point Pelee from the wee hours in the morning I decided to just take a photograph. Long story short, I mounted my 500mm camera together with the 1.4 extender and got the following close-up of the collapsed turbine blade at 700 mm focal length.

Wind Turbine with collapsed blade in the farm fields of Ontario

Ontario Wind Turbine with Collapsed Blade in the farm fields of Ontario

What's Your Opinion About Wind Turbines?

Since we are on the topic of wind turbines, what do you think about them? Are you for deploying wind turbines or against? Concerns range from annoyance, to health, to visual clutter. Personally, I'm torn between the green benefits that such renewable source of energy brings to the masses and on the other hand, I have a big issue with the toll they take on raptors and migratory birds.

Update: Bird Fatalities on Wolfe Island

Kingston Field Naturalists recently reported about the high number of bird deaths over a period of 6 months due to the operation of wind turbines on Wolfe Island. The deaths included 6 raptors and 6 Turkey Vultures in addition to 88 other birds and many bats.

Update: Windfarm turbines deadly for birds, bats

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