FAIRHAVEN — Having ordered the necessary parts, turbine owners are hoping that Fairhaven's north turbine will soon be blowing in the wind once more.
After a voltage spike on the grid caused a "synchronizing problem," the turbine has been unable to put power it produces onto the grid. For the past six weeks, the turbine has remained dormant while owner Fairhaven Wind tried to identify how to fix the problem.
Now Fairhaven Wind is waiting for parts to be shipped from Chinese manufacturer Sinovel before it can bring the turbine back online. The necessary 400-pound cables arrived in Colorado on Tuesday and will now be shipped to Fairhaven via FedEx ground.
Fairhaven Wind's Gordon Deane said the "good news" is that the two turbines are under five-year warranty, so the repairs are not costing Fairhaven Wind or the town anything.
"The only thing it's costing us is downtime," he said.
Since Aug. 4, the north turbine has actually been consuming 1,248 kilowatt hours of energy from the grid, though it has not produced any.
Deane said his company would reimburse the town for the cost of energy consumed by the turbine while it is not working.
During that same time period, the south turbine, which has remained operational, has produced more than 237,704 kilowatt hours of energy.
According to Fairhaven Wind, the town made $6,300 from turbine generation from Aug. 4 to Sept. 3. All of that came from the south turbine, and the revenue could have potentially doubled had the north turbine been operational during that time period.
"Of course we don't like to lose money, but it's not a big enough problem for me to start worrying about it," Fairhaven Selectman Geoffrey Haworth said. "We know Fairhaven Wind will take a bigger hit than us so they have an incentive to move right along on this repair."
He added that Fairhaven Wind has been "very receptive" to selectmen's questions and kept in touch on the issue.
Karen Isherwood, who lives on Teal Circle and has complained of negative health impacts such as sleeplessness from the turbines, said her life has been better since the north turbine stopped spinning.
"I'm happy about it," she said. "It's definitely easier to live here."
Isherwood said she knows the north turbine will go back up soon enough but, "The longer it stays down, the longer we'll be happy."
Dan Freitas, who supports the turbines, said his group Friends of Fairhaven Wind is concerned that the turbine hasn't been running.
"It's good for the environment and brings in money for our town, of course we want it running," he said.