MATTOON -- The Lake Land Board of Trustees voted Monday evening to authorize removing the north wind turbine near the West Building.
In addition, the board authorized removing the blades from the nearby south turbine so this unit can continue to be utilized for educational purposes for Lake Land students. This project would cost Lake Land an estimated $30,000.
"Neither one of them have been functioning here on campus," said Vice President for Business Services Bryan Gleckler. He added that mechanical problems with both Bora turbines, installed in 2012, were compounded by the south turbine being damaged by lightning.
Gleckler said the CTS Group assisted Lake Land with developing three options for removing the north turbine while retaining the south one, to meet the education requirements of the federal grant funding for the turbines.
The two options for using donated Endurance equipment to replace part or all of the south turbine would have each cost Lake Land nearly $200,000, Gleckler said.
Gleckler said a fully functional Endurance turbine operating at 100 percent capacity could generate as much as $16,800 in energy on an annual basis. He said with an estimated annual maintenance cost of at least $2,500 per year, the net savings would be $14,300 per year.
However, Gleckler said at a cost of nearly $200,000 to procure the parts necessary and install the Endurance turbine, it would take approximately 14 years for the turbine to make the return on the investment, assuming no significant mechanical problem occurs.
Given the high cost of these two options for the south turbine, Gleckler recommended the estimated $30,000 option of removing the north turbine and removing the blades from the south turbine. He said this will eliminate the liability issue of having a nonfunctioning turbine with blades still on it.
Trustee Dave Storm said he likes this option because it minimizes the cost to the college, which is focusing more on geothermal and solar renewable energy courses. Chairman Gary Cadwell added Lake Land has found that it is in a poor location for the wind needed to operate turbines.
In addition, Trustee Doris Reynolds she likes keeping the south turbine in place without blades so Lake Land and visiting students can still climb this tower and work on its nacelle. President Josh Bullock added that the north turbine's nacelle will be taken indoors for classroom instruction.
"I am a little concerned, aesthetically, about what it is going to look like (without blades)," said Trustee Robert Luther of the south turbine.
Bullock said the south turbine could be used as a base for communications antennas. He said Lake Land also could look into the costs of eventually taking down the south turbine and paying back some of the grant funding to the U.S. Department of Labor.