wind turbine ex

Toronto's famous wind turbine doesn't work anymore

Love it or hate it, the huge white windmill at Exhibition Place is part of Toronto's landscape.

In fact, that's its only function right now. The wind turbine hasn't generated a single watt of electricity since March, according to CBC Toronto, and it's not expected to work again until November – at the earliest.

Tori Gass, media relations specialist for Toronto Hydro, revealed on Wednesday that water had seeped into the turbine's ring generator during a rainstorm more than six months ago.

The energy company found a specialist to fix the water damage for about $100,000 in August, but then decided to give the turbine an additional $25,000 in upgrades. Work on the machine is expected to last into November.

Gass says that this is "not a common occurrence," calling the turbine "reliable" and noting that it has an availability record of 95 per cent.

History appears to show otherwise. The turbine, run by the WindShare power co-op and Toronto Hydro, has experienced plenty of downtime since it was built in 2002.

WindShare's own website has a lengthy list of maintenance and repair updates, many of which can be read about in detailed blog posts.

"As you may be well aware, the ExPlace Turbine has been shut down for maintenance and repair work for the past few weeks," reads one post from 2014. 

"The converter was faulting out once turbine hit ~11 rpms (when it starts to generate power)... The new part was installed on Tuesday, July 28th, which appeared to allow the turbine to run, but the converter would continue to fault." 

The turbine was only designed to run for about 25 years, which would put its expiry date sometime around 2027.

Gass says that this most-recent round of upgrades, however, will expand the windmill's lifespan by another 10 years – for better or for worse.

Lead photo by

Ian Scott


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