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AltaGas Manager of Communications Neil Mackie says that as wind energy is such a new industry, the technology is constantly changing.

“With a new industry like wind farms, like with TVs and video games, the technology keeps changing so quickly these days, and with wind energy being a fairly new industry, (the technology) gets better all the time quite quickly.”

The new blades are made with a new material that will give added rigidity and durability.

“They’re actually better suited to the turbines that we have at Bear Mountain, so it ultimately will reduce maintenance costs for the wind turbines.”

Work was expected to begin in mid-August, but some construction in Dawson Creek taking longer than expected, and won’t be done until after the 20th. That construction gets in the way of shipping in the 41-metre long blades, which will be brought in by trains, then transported by truck to a storage yard west of Dawson Creek and moved as required via the Bear Mountain access road. The delivery day has now been moved back to the end of August.

Despite the delay, it’s still expected that the first 17 northernmost turbines will be replaced in 2012, with the remaining 17 swapped in 2013. It takes approximately a week to switch each blade.

Access to the wind park will be closed from time to time during the replacement stage, particularly when trucking in and out the new and old blades. The old blades will be shipped to other projects.

AltaGas expects this will be the last time the Bear Mountain turbine blades will be replaced.

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