The wind will continue to be harnessed in eastern Prince Edward Island.
The P.E.I. Energy Corporation has signed a 10-year extension agreement with Vestas to act as the turbine supplier for the East Point Wind Farm.
"The signing of the 10-year extension to the service and maintenance agreement for the turbines at East Point represents the P.E.I. Energy Corporation's confidence and trust in Vestas' service reliability as well as in our products,'' says Aaron Coffin, one of the technicians with Vestas that took The Guardian on a site tour Thursday that ended at the very top of one of the 300-foot turbines.
The 10 turbines that line eastern P.E.I. have been operating for about five years and boast a lifespan of between 20 and 25 years.
As of Dec. 31, 2011, Vestas had installed 1,130 turbines in Canada and about 90 on P.E.I.
Vestas maintains those 90 turbines in the province. The turbines in eastern Kings are called V90s, referring to the diameter of the swept area of the blades – 90 metres. Each blade is 44 metres long.
Coffin, 37, was a high school teacher who was looking for a change four years ago as his daughter graduated. He saw Vestas rolling the turbines in Souris and the rest is history.
Coffin says the company has no comment on a recent decision by the Eastern Kings Community Council. Council walked away from a multimillion-dollar wind energy development, despite area residents voting in favour of it.
Last month, Eastern Kings residents voted 171-141 in favour of proceeding with a 30-megawatt wind farm to be developed through the P.E.I. Energy Corporation. It would have seen the province give the area about $9 million over 15 years.
The financial incentives included $200,000 for landowners and a $125,000 annual trust for the community.
"Vestas always tries to ensure there are proactive conversations with the community on any wind-energy development,'' he says. "We plan to be here for the long term and help meet the province's wind energy needs.''
The company is very strict about safety, making sure everyone has the right equipment, from boots to gloves and goggles and hard hats.
Stig Molgaard, manager with Vestas, says if anyone feels safety is an issue they stop what they're doing and walk away.
"I don't pay them to take chances,'' Molgaard says.
Technicians work 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and are on-call every second weekend. Technicians also get text message alerts of problems and have comprehensive diagnostic tools that help us pinpoint turbine problems that help to troubleshoot.
One of those turbines running full speed for two hours can produce enough electricity for a house to operate on for a year. Maintenance is usually only carried out when the wind is low. When the wind is high, they let the turbines do their jobs and produce power.